PARIS — A 12-year-old boy was rescued by firefighters with ropes when he became paralyzed with fear while crossing the railroad trestle off Oxford Street on Wednesday.

“He got about 80 percent of the way and decided he was afraid of heights,” Fire Chief Scott Hunter said. 

The call came in around 3:40 p.m. and railroad officials were notified by dispatch to stop the train for the rescue because one usually rolls through that area around that time of day, Paris Fire Capt. Dana Laplante said. 

The boy was walking on the railroad trestle, which is high in the air and spans the Little Androscoggin River in Paris and Oxford, with three friends when he was unable to move anymore, Paris Police Chief Hartley “Skip” Mowatt said. He declined to release the boy’s name because of his age.

Hunter said the boy was not hurt.

“He climbed up after school (and) he got nervous,” Paris Fire Capt. Mark Blaquiere said. “We could have brought him down the same way he went up, but for safety reasons we harnessed him up. We put a guard rope, a backup rope and a third rope on him so he wouldn’t get hurt.”

Mowatt served as a school resource officer before becoming chief . He said students learn how to rock climb in school, which helped with the rescue.

“I told him, ‘It’s just like you coming off the rock wall when you get to the top and you can’t get back down: You just swing yourself off. Well, these guys are going to do that swinging for you,’” Mowatt said.

Blaquiere said the boy met his mother at the end of the trestle and those coming back from the scene, which was across a wooded field, said mom wasn’t happy.

Paris, Norway and Oxford Fire responded, along with Paris Police and PACE ambulance. Norway Fire brought its utility task vehicle in case of a river rescue.

“He’s just glad to be down and he’s going to go home with his mother,” Hunter said. “Luckily, it worked out well.”

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Oxford firefighters carry a ladder out of the woods after a 12-year-old boy was rescued from a railroad trestle off Oxford Street in Paris late Wednesday afternoon. The boy, too scared to finish crossing the structure, was not hurt.

A member of the Norway Fire Department directs traffic along Oxford Street in Paris on Wednesday after a 12-year-old became scared while walking on a railroad trestle and had to be rescued by firefighters.


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