Man injured in fall, firefighters help him, clean yard

After a Whiteland man fell from a ladder and injured himself while trimming a tree, firefighters took it upon themselves to finish the job for him.

Working with chainsaws, a trio of firefighters spent about an hour cutting up branches and wood that was left in the yard after the homeowner was taken to the hospital.

Cleaning up the property was the right thing to do, because the fire department wants to help people by doing more than just responding to emergency calls, New Whiteland Fire Chief Dale Saucier said.

“This was a nice gesture we could make for the family,” he said.

James Finelli, who lives in the 100 block of Park Forest Drive North, was trimming a tree on his property at about 6 p.m. Wednesday when a branch fell and hit his ladder, causing him to fall 20 feet to the ground, he said. Firefighters from New Whiteland, Whiteland and Bargersvile fire departments came to the home.

Finelli was treated at the scene and taken to Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital. He was in stable condition as of Thursday morning, a hospital spokesperson said.

After Finelli was taken to the hospital, firefighters chose to stick around for an hour and finish cutting up and removing the branches and wood that had been left laying on the yard, work that they finished doing by flashlight, Saucier said.

“We wanted to strive to be there more for the community beyond emergency calls,” Fire Marshal Jim Nungester said. “It was going to take a few minutes and in those few minutes, it was worth it.”

They began cutting the branches into small pieces for about 10 minutes before they were called to another emergency. But they came back to finish the work by flashlight later that evening, he said.

“We weren’t sure what the homeowners wishes were, so we cut it up into small pieces so he could decide what he wanted to do with it,” Nungester said.

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Jacob Tellers is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at or 317-736-2702.