Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Tower man recovering after cabin-moving incident

Jodi Summit
Posted 7/11/19

GREENWOOD TWP- “I was extremely lucky to have people hear the crash and hear me yelling,” said Michael Tam, who was trapped below an old cabin he was attempting to move from the old Daisy Bay …

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Tower man recovering after cabin-moving incident

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GREENWOOD TWP- “I was extremely lucky to have people hear the crash and hear me yelling,” said Michael Tam, who was trapped below an old cabin he was attempting to move from the old Daisy Bay Resort on Lake Vermilion on Saturday, July 6.

“It took almost an hour of incredible effort from just great people and first responders to free me,” Tam said. “It was quite an ordeal.”

Tam, who works for the US Forest Service, had been working on moving an old 11’x22’ cabin from the resort. He and his partner, Ashley Thaemert, had purchased two of the old resort cabins to move to their homestead. They were planning to disassemble the larger of the two cabins, but had thought the smaller one could be moved in one piece on a trailer.

He had spent a few hours preparing the cabin for moving and was using hydraulic jacks to slowly raise the structure, shoring it up with blocks. The aim, Tam said, was to get it high enough to drive his trailer underneath, and then transport it back to his property.

“When I was very near the height that I needed to be at,” Tam said, “I pumped the jack and heard a scraping sound of one of my block supports not being stable.”

Tam was working alone on the project. Unluckily for Tam, the problem jack was underneath the cabin, not at a corner like the others. He immediately tried to lower the jack, but before he had time to react the cabin twisted slightly and came off the supports.

“I tried to scramble out,” he said. “But it was too fast and it knocked me down.”

Tam was pinned down, across his back, with his right leg badly twisted.

“I’ll be honest,” he said, “I had several moments when I thought I was actually done for.”

Tam said he will be forever grateful for all those involved in the rescue, which took over an hour.

“I will never be able to repay these people for helping me,” he said. “The rescue was no small feat.”

“The first responders literally saved my life.”

Tam said he hopes the story of his rescue will make others in the community understand the commitment and professionalism of our local emergency responders.

“It was an awesome interagency response,” he said, “along with lightning quick responses from some complete strangers who were in the area and helped get the first responders to the scene.”

Tam had surgery on July 7 to repair his broken femur. Amazingly he had no serious internal injuries and said he is already recovering quickly and has started physical therapy. He was expecting to be released from St. Mary’s in Duluth on July 11.

As for the cabins, Tam said they are still hoping to get them moved to their property, and if they do, they would be disassembling both cabins, not attempting a trailer move again.

Tower Ambulance, Virginia Ambulance, Greenwood Township First Responders, Tower Fire Department, St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office, Greenwood Fire, and Pike Sandy Fire responded.

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