A man stuck in the vise-like grip of mud up to his waist for four hours was rescued from a creek bed southeast of Rochester by firefighters and their many tools of the trade.

The lifesaving drama unfolded about 11 a.m. Wednesday when 60-year-old Theodore Maxwell, of Rochester, “became engulfed in mud, rock and clay up to ... his waist” while working alone doing restoration work on a rural residence in Marion Township, said Rochester Deputy Fire Chief Steve Belau.

The homeowner tried to pull the worker out using a rope and a car, but turned to 911 after realizing “the entrapment was getting worse,” Belau said.

Firefighters from three stations and a rescue battalion brought a host of implements, including an air line that loosened the muddy vacuum that kept Maxwell from being able to move his legs, the deputy chief said.

Once rocks that were trapping one of Maxwell’s ankles were dislodged, firefighters freed the hired hand from the mud, loaded him on a basket stretcher and hauled him out of the creek bed to safety.

Maxwell “was in good spirits and did not have serious injuries,” Belau said.

As a precaution, Maxwell was taken to St. Marys Hospital in Rochester for evaluation.