Toddler gets stuck in septic tank, father holds on to son's hand until rescue arrives

Posted at 11:06 AM, Sep 13, 2016

A father's grip on his 3-year-old son's hand kept the toddler from falling completely into a septic tank until rescue crews arrived to help, Wellington Fire reported.

Fire crews were called to the 46000 block of Peck Wadsworth Road at 12:30 Saturday afternoon for a report of a 3-year-old boy , Rex Wlodyka, who had partially fallen into an 8-inch septic tank pipe and was stuck.

At the time of the call, Wellington police said, Wlodyka's father was holding on to his son to keep him from sliding down further. Once a South Lorain County Ambulance arrived, the crew took over for the dad and began to work on getting the boy out of the hole. 

Firefighters dug with shovels to expose the pipe before cutting it back to allow better air and more room for the crew to work. Police estimated that at least half of the child's body had fallen into the tank. 

Police said the boy was removed from the tank within 34 minutes after the call. The 3-year-old, who was hypothermic and had a few scratches from the incident, was cleaned up at the scene before being taken to MetroHealth Medical Center. 

Wellington Fire Chief Mike Wetherbee said this was not an ordinary call and his crew was lucky in many ways, such as the toddler's older brother noticing the child going into the pipe and alerting their father immediately. The dad was able to hold on to his son's hand to keep him from falling completely into the tank. 

"I can't imagine my life without Rex in it," his mother Sarah told NewsChannel 5.

Wetherbee said firefighters and town officials replaced the pipe, backfilled around it and capped it after the incident.