Incredible Rescue Ensues When a Horse Falls Into a Utility Vault

Posted by Paige Cerulli
horse falls into utility vault
All images: City of Riverside Fire Department via Facebook

When a horse falls into a utility vault, it's all hands on deck for a truly incredible rescue. 

A pair of horses and riders headed out to Taco Bell in Riverside, California, but they never expected how their ride would end. While leaving, one of the horses fell into a utility hole in the sidewalk when the utility vault cover collapsed.

The saddled horse was trapped in an almost impossible position, and was in desperate need of help. And so, a dramatic rescue was set into motion.

horse falls into utility vault

The City of Riverside Fire Department responded to the emergency, then summoned the City of Riverside's Heavy Animal Rescue Team (HART).

The HART rescue team consists of an on-call veterinarian, staff from the downtown Riverside Police Department mounted unit, and personnel from the fire department's Technical Rescue Team.

horse falls into utility vault

After evaluating the scene, Battalion Chief Jeff DeLaurie requested a crane to help lift the horse out of the vault. But while the emergency crews waited for the crane to arrive, the horse tried to get out of the vault multiple times.

With help from his owner and from the firefighters on the scene, the horse was able to climb out of the 5-foot-deep hole that was filled with dangerous sharp pieces of rubble and water distribution valves.

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horse falls into utility vault

The vet on scene assessed the horse, finding only minor cuts, and the horse was then transported to another vet for further evaluation.

horse falls into utility vault

Horses have a way of getting themselves into unusual situations, but rescuing such large animals can be a challenge. While horses on the street in the inland city of Riverside isn't quite a common sight, they are allowed in the Southern California city limits.

This story is just one example of why it's so important for rescue crews to receive training in large animal rescue, especially in urban areas. Being able to confidently and safely work with animals such as horses, and having the resources to call in for additional help can greatly increase the chances of a successful rescue.

Does your town have a large horse & animal rescue team? Tell us in the comments below. 

All images: City of Riverside Fire Department via Facebook

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Incredible Rescue Ensues When a Horse Falls Into a Utility Vault