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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

SJFD: Truck Cut And Dismantled To Free Child's Finger In Hole

San Jose firefighters cut apart truck to save toddlers stuck finger

By Lisa Fernandez

San Jose, Ca - San Jose firefighters saved the finger of a 2-year-old boy, who had stuck his entire arm down a hole in the bed of his father's pickup truck.

Capt. Chuck Rangel said the heroic emergency work Tuesday was an out-of-the-ordinary effort for the fire crew.

"We get kids at the playground sometimes who get their knees stuck in between rails," Rangel said. "So, we're able to just spread the bars a quarter inch, and their knees just slide out. But this was definitely not something we do very often. This was definitely unusual."

The unusual call came in at 11:29 a.m. on North 13th Street in downtown San Jose. A toddler had shoved his arm down a hole in the flatbed of his father's truck, getting his tiny finger stuck down a hole.

The little finger was so swollen that firefighters couldn't free it even when they lubricated it, Rangel said. That's when Capt. Sean Lovens and his crew on Truck No. 1 decided to cut away a portion of the truck, and rush the boy to the hospital with a chunk of metal still attached to his finger. Firefighters followed the ambulance, and took over in the emergency room.

At the hospital, Rangel said the firefighters used special saws to finish cutting through the metal, and then manually pried the final piece of the truck away from the finger, which emerged puffy and sore, but saved.

The boy was released from the hospital later that day.

The boy's family was not available for immediate comment this morning. But Rangel said the father kept telling firefighters, "Do whatever it takes. Do what you need to," as they were cutting apart his truck.

Rangel said a situation like this sometimes just can't be prevented.

"You can't really predict what your 2-year-old is going to do," he said. "And you can't really childproof your truck."
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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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