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Rescue team recalls recusing teen from well

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GAFFNEY, S.C. (WSPA) — Gaffney City firefighters received a rare call Saturday night. 14-year-old Jaylen Byers fell 40-feet in a well.

“We set up a rope and pulley system,” explained Fire Marshal Billy Bishop. “We lowered the rescuer into the hole. He was able to get him [Byers} and bring him back up.”

About a dozen firefighters were on the scene. Bishop explained his team trains for scenarios like this when they have to be both quick and efficient.

“We have to know our guys’ abilities, what they’re comfortable with and what they like doing,” said Bishop. “The rescuer who went in the hole the other night has done it in the past. He was very comfortable with it.”

“He was trying to keep me calm the whole time while we were going up,” added Byers.

This was the third well rescue Gaffney City firefighters have been called to. Bishop said falling into a well is rare, but it can happen to anyone.

“For people who are just outside, pay attention to your surroundings,” said Bishop. “If you have a pipe like that, I wouldn’t mess with it because odds are it goes somewhere.”

A report from DHEC shows that 466 wells were inspected in South Carolina between 2019 and 2020. The agency’s rules state wells must have a cover if they are actively being used. If they are abandoned, they must be filled with a cement-like mixture.

“For property owners who know they may have these wells, make sure they’re covered and sealed.”

Meanwhile, Byers is back home with his family.

“We’re glad it turned out the way it did because they don’t always turn out like that,” said Bishop.

Byers’ mother told 7News she hopes the well her son fell into is either re-sealed or a fence is built around it.

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