June 22, 2018
On Friday, June 22, 2018 at 5:39pm, Police and Fire Officers of Portsmouth, New Hampshire responded to 325 Little Harbor Road for a report of a two year old trapped in a rock pile. Upon arrival, first responders found a two year old boy pinned between large slabs of stone. Moments before, the child had been playing atop this pile with his grandfather when the slab he was standing on dislodged. This caused the boy to fall forward with the stone he was just standing on, coming to rest on his head.
These stone slabs are estimated to weigh several hundreds of pounds each. They are being stored in the yard with the intention to serve as the foundation for a seawall currently under construction for that property
Portsmouth Police Officer T.J. Potter was one of the first officers on scene. Prior to becoming a Police Officer, Officer Potter was a professional stone mason who specialized in historical foundation repair. That experience allowed him to accurately summarize the extreme danger this child was in. It was Officer Potter’s opinion that the rock slab resting on the child’s head was in imminent danger of completely giving way which would then subject the child’s head to the full weight of this stone. Additionally, that slab could not be moved until other boulders were first stabilized. Finally, emergency medical personnel were gravely concerned for the child’s trauma- which they could not address- until the danger of collapse was remedied.
Because of the coordinated efforts of both the Portsmouth Fire and Police Departments, it took only nine minutes: From the time the call was received at the Portsmouth Emergency Dispatch Center to when the child was pulled free and began receiving emergency medical treatment. It also bears mentioning here the excellent job the victim’s family did at keeping their child calm during an incredibly traumatic event prior to the arrival of first responders.
The child was later transported to the Portsmouth Regional Hospital where he is still being treated for serious but what are currently believed to be non-life threatening injuries.
Questions about this event should be directed to the Chief of Police. If the Chief’s Office is closed, questions can be directed to the Portsmouth Police Department Shift Commander at (603) 610-7406. If s/he is not available, please leave a message and a supervisor will contact you as soon as one is available.