Newington Fire Chief E.J. Hoyt says that they came up with a number of contingency plans on Monday afternoon when they realized a 43-year-old man was trapped waist-deep after falling into a hole on a salt pile.

The man was a worker for Morton Salt. He was stuck for hours as emergency rescue crews from Newington and surrounding communities worked to free him at 372 Shattuck Way.

Crews were called just after 1 pm. and were able to get the man out around 5 p.m.


Hoyt said on Tuesday afternoon the salt pile incident reminded him of saving someone trapped in an avalanche and explained how they approach a situation so unusual.

"We have scenarios we train for and it gets us down the road a little bit and then we'll come up with plans B, C and D," Hoyt said.

Hoyt said their plan to have the man scoop out the salt around him with a five-gallon bucket worked, but he had plywood on the scene from Middleton Building Supply just in case they needed to try something else.

Hoyt said the hole was about 25 feet deep and the entrance was about 18 inches wide, but the man had some spaces he could move around in to help free himself.

Luckily, the man was conscious and not injured.

Crews from Portsmouth, Dover, Greenland, Pease Air National Guard, Newmarket and Kittery, Maine, helped with the rescue.

Portsmouth Public Works, the city of Dover's community services team, National Wrecker Service, Sprague Energy, Middleton Building Supply and Chris Co Construction all were part of the rescue.

Morton Salt leases land from Sprague at 372 Shattuck Way.

Hoyt said if you are ever trapped to call for help early.

Contact Managing News Editor Kimberley Haas at

LOOK: See Photos of the Year From the International Photography Awards





More From Seacoast Current