Fire Fighters Share The Dumb Things They've Had To Save People From

Fire Fighters Share The Dumb Things They've Had To Save People From

We're lucky we have responsive emergency services as close as a phone call away when we need them. Flick on the news, and you'll see stories of fire fighters achieving heroic rescues and putting out blazing buildings. But 9-1-1 also gets called on the silliest, stupidest human errors you can imagine - and those are the stories we want to hear. We asked fire fighters to tell us the dumbest things they've had to save people from. The takeaway? It's usually the callers themselves.

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35. I'm a big kid now.

Austin, TX, HEB, circa 1990.

A little girl needs to use the toilet. She locks the door, manages to get onto the toilet and use it all by herself - she's a big girl after all!

But, the toilet is tall and getting down is scary. Better wait for mom to come help. Except, she can't get in, because the little girl locked the door and is too scared of the five inches from her feet to the floor and so just sits there crying while sitting on the toilet.

The firemen break down the door and the little girl is saved.

Yep, I was a stupid kid.


34. Easy, rider.

A motorist had a bad alternator and the car died while she/he was driving. The electric lock control stopped working. We were dispatched for a person trapped in a motor vehicle. On arrival, the advice was given to manually lift the lock knob. You can easily tell the ones who will not survive the first 24 hours of the zombie apocalypse.

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33. Aerial circus act.

Former Fire and Rescue Firefighter here. I have helped release several dogs and children stuck in the mechanism part of a recliner chair. Also a bird stuck in a tree, go figure.

I didn't know what to think when we received the call. We proceeded to the address to see a bird, you guessed it, in a tree. It was the highest palm tree I’ve ever seen, this one guy on our crew loved to play the hero, so of course with the ladies looking he wanted to do the heroic act, we said, "Ok, Sunshine, have at it." We put the ladder out and off he went to rescue this bird, turns out the bird had it’s leg caught in one of the palms. I should also add that a wild bird stuck in a tree in a state of pure panic is going to be ticked off, I don’t know what was louder the bird squawking and biting him, his screams or us on the ground laughing. Got it out, bird was fine, our guy was scratched up to bits though.

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32. Multi-purpose dumb.

I was a volunteer firefighter many years back. One summer, after a long period of no rain, two good old boys decide to have a few (dozen) beers and take their Jeep into a nearby field to go off-roading.

Well, ~2 ft. tall corn stalks that are bone-dry wind-up getting jammed up into the undercarriage, which, on a 90+ degree day, turns out to be hot enough to ignite a fire. The owner of the field sees the situation unfolding from their house and calls for fire and police.

Given the proximity to my location, I go directly to the scene after hearing the page go out and see these two morons trying to drive the Jeep faster and faster to put the fire out. Eventually, the engine gives out, but they won’t leave the car. I physically had to reach-in, burning my arms in the process (since I didn’t respond to the station first to get my turnout gear), and pull them out - somehow, they decided that remaining in the car would slow down the flames.

And because they thought it was a good idea to continue driving a burning vehicle around a dry field, we now have a significant brush fire and have to call mutual aid from another county to help douse the fire.

State Police get involved, I have a nice trip to the hospital. And those dummies lose their Jeep and the remainder of their booze.

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31. Fire and ice.

My dad was a firefighter in NYC and once responded to a call at a Chinese food restaurant where the owner's walkway was iced over. He apparently didn't speak very good english and maybe misunderstood the job of a fireman? Genuinely don't know. They salted down his front walkway for him and explained that this was 100% not their job. They all had a good laugh and the guy gave them all free egg rolls. People always used to ask him questions about crazy calls and he never enjoyed talking about that so he would always tell that story. Happened in '99 still makes me laugh to this day 20 years later.

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30. Survival of the unfittest.

I used to work in a NYC public grammar school over the summers to pay for college back in the 90's. One of the full time employees was a nice guy but stupid. And I don't mean he was slow or anything, he just did dumb stuff because he was careless. One time he loaded up a trailer with like 25 gallons of gas and was driving it back through the main school parking lot. He didn't realize that container cracked open and spilled all 25 gallons in the parking lot. He didn't want to get in trouble so he thought the best way to get rid of the evidence was TO SET THE GAS ON FIRE. He didn't realize that burning gas gives off a LOT of black smoke and a gigantic cloud of black smoke coming from a school generally attracts a lot of attention from first responders. Panicking, he tries to put the flaming lake of gas out by DRIVING OVER IT WITH HIS CAR. The fire department gets there, screaming at him to stop driving his car through flaming gasoline. They finally get the fire out and just... screamed at this guy for like 25 minutes. It was the funniest thing I've ever seen.

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29. Two dumb to drive.

I got called to a lockout. Get to the location and am met with "we just need a jump start" and think, ok, wrong call. Get out the cables and ask them to pop the hood... "Oh, we can't. We're locked out." Driver is holding keys in hand. Passenger window is down. I starting backing away assuming some kind of theft scam.

They actually thought they were locked out because the key fob wasn't unlocking the door. It turns out the fob battery had died. Showed them how to use the key after checking ID again the registration retrieved though the open window. Vehicle battery was not dead.

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28. Clever comeback.

I'm not a firefighter, but I used to do a lot of disaster response work. Hurricane Floyd. Eastern NC. I had a farmer with a large family that refused to evacuate his house. Stubborn as anything. River had broke loose, floodwaters were coming up fast, and the police had given up on changing his mind. I drove my truck right up into his yard, rolled down the window and asked him to dress his kids in something orange or bright yellow. He asked me why and I said "So body recovery will be able to distinguish them from all the dead pigs floating around."

He told me to get lost, but 5 minutes later he had the whole family in the vehicle and they got out.


27. Only semi-smart.

We needed to close the main connection through a forest over the winter because the trees were falling faster on the road than we could remove them due to way to much snow falling. Also the redirection was more than an hour longer due to the snow.

Some cars thought that they would come through but turned around as soon as they saw the trees on the road.

One semi also thought he'd get through. He drove up to the trees and called the fire brigade and complained why we didn't remove the trees. As he was calling a bunch of trees behind him also fell locking him in.

It stood there one month before the trees and the snow could get removed by us that at least the semi can back out. We needed another month until the road was free again.


26. Incendiary rodents.

Years ago we had this call straight out of Caddy Shack. Some guy had gotten tired of this gopher ruining his yard. Little did he know though he was facing the Sun Tzu of gophers. The homeowner, dwelling upon his experience from Vietnam, decided that the best way to deal with the gopher was to treat the situation like a VC tunnel, in lieu of a frag grenade he poured a five gallon can of gasoline down the gopher hole, waited with a varmint gun, and lit it off.

The ensuing explosion caused a small crater to form in his yard. I am still thoroughly impressed that there was a proper fuel to air ratio in the network of tunnels that allowed for such an explosion to happen. However the gopher refused to surrender without a fight. The gopher ran out of the hole engulfed in flames, causing the guy's yard to catch on fire. The gopher sprinted into the guy's shed still on fire and burrowed into a void space in the wall, where he died. Like the martyr perk from Modern Warfare his still flaming remains set the inside of the wall on fire as well as several flammables.

In the end the guy's backyard was ruined and about a quarter of his shed burned down taking out a bunch of power tools and a zero turn mower. He definitely would have saved a few thousand dollars if he had hired an exterminator.

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25. Photo op close call.

Obligatory not a firefighter but recently in San Diego a group of suburban moms decided to take their infants up the local hiking spot called Cowles Mountain. It’s not a particularly grueling hike as many children and elderly people can do it. However there is a heat stroke warning posted at the trail head. Not to mention it can get pretty hot here and this last week was no exception with temperatures exceeding 90 degrees. Well these morons took their infants up in this heat. The trail is pretty exposed and due to its easy accessibility and “instagram-worthiness” lots of inexperienced hikers flock to it. Many times with little to no water because they underestimated how hot and difficult it could be.

Needless to say the fire department/ems and chopper were all called as these moms had taken their babies up and were too tired and exhausted to come down. They had to go up and give water, check their conditions and some even carried the babies down. I know fires are a lot hotter but I bet they were cursing out these moms in their heads as they had to hike up the mountain in pretty much full gear. The moms came strolling down laughing and flipping off the cameras as they were angry people were going to see their stupidity. This happened all because they wanted to take a group photo with their infants on a mountain on a hot day.

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24. At least he caught it on camera.

I once had a firefighter tell me he almost died in a house fire while going back into the house to look for the owner. A neighbor was concerned about why the firefighter was still in the residence so he asked another firefighter. This is about how the exchange went:

Neighbor: Why is that fireman still in the house?
Firefighter: He's looking for the owner of the home.
Neighbor: He is right over there with the video camera.

Turns out the owner did not think it was important to alert the fire department he was out of the house. Instead, he was just taking a video of the whole event.

The fire started because the owner had tried to smother his barbecue cooker flame with left over wood from the siding that had been installed on his home. The owner did not realize it would burn. Burned his whole house down.

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23. Deep dive into the shallow end.

Fire department and the paramedics had to come to my work one day because some kid didn’t know the difference between a swimming pool and a splash pad...

There’s this artificial waterfall that goes down into a basin that’s only about 2 inches deep where there’s fountains and stuff for kids to play in. This kid decided to climb up the waterfall (there are multiple signs posted not to do this) and decided to dive off into the water below that again is only 2 INCHES DEEP!

Luckily the kid landed flat on his face so he survived and avoided being paralyzed but he was knocked out cold immediately and would have probably drowned but luckily his mother heard the splat and came running over screaming and pulled him out.


22. Feline ferocity.

I was the dumb call. My cat got her paw stuck under the dishwasher, and was screaming. I couldn't move her paw and I couldn't lift the machine, so I sat with her while my husband called the fire department. She chewed right through one of my favorite blankets in her stress.

Fire fighters arrive, not in full suits but heavy boots and pants. Soon as they came around the corner to the kitchen our cat miraculously was able to free her paw and take off to hide in the bathroom.

The guys seemed confused, but at least it was easy? We thanked them profusely for being scary enough to free our cat, who had zero physical damage (not even a broken claw). I guess she'd hooked her claws on something and didn't want to let it go for love or money.

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21. At least it was convenient.

Not a firefighter, this happened to my son when he was 6. He was at a Cub Scout meeting which was next door to the fire station. The firefighters had these racks where they'd lay their hoses out to dry (I think?). The little scouts were climbing on those racks one day and my son's chubby leg slipped between the bars and got stuck. The firefighters had to come use the Jaws of Life on their own racks to free my kid.


20. Now that's a lazy boy.

Me and my dad are both firefighters and he said one time they went to a house because an elderly man could not get out of the leather recliner because he had been sitting in it for a week straight and his wife would just serve him drinks/ food and the guy never got up. He just kept doing his business in the chair until he was physically stuck to the chair and they had to cut him out.

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19. And they lived happily ever after.

Heard this story from a friend. Emergency call comes in for a miscellaneous electrical hazard. Chief walks in and a woman tells him that the tv in the bedroom is making a weird noise. It's turned off but there's a low buzzing sound coming from the area. Chief unplugs the tv (which she didn't think to do???) and the noise doesn't stop. The tv is sitting on top of a chest of drawers so he opens up the top drawer and finds this woman's toy - you know what kind I mean - just buzzing away. Super awkward.


18. Doing it for the 'gram.

Former firefighter/EMT. Easily the dumbest person I encountered was a mother of 4 who decided it would be an awesome idea to get a Facebook/Instagram worthy picture of her kids (all under age 10) sitting in a rowboat.

Mother untied it from the dock and thought she'd just pull them back with the rope... That she forgot to hold on to.

They floated a half mile down the river before the two oldest boys managed to grab a branch hanging over the bank.

It was really surreal to see 4 young kids, all in matching clothing, sitting in a boat waiting to be rescued. I have no clue what happened after, but they were physically fine, just scared, a little tired but the mom was in full blown panic mode and kept getting in our way. I hope she's making better choices now.

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17. Bet it was delicious.

I was called to a home to get a pie out of the over before it caught fire. The lady went to the store and was delayed for some reason. She called 911 to have the fire department take the pie out of the oven and place it on the stove. The call came in as "Fire hazard: something stuck in oven and unable to turn off stove". So we broke into a woman's house and cause probably thousands of dollars worth of damage, all so she wouldn't burn her pie. Still my dumbest call in 32 years.

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16. Ho-ho-holy it's hot in here.

Rescued a guy trying to surprise his girlfriend on Christmas by coming down the chimney completely unannounced. Her son noticed something was going on before she did, put a starter log in the fireplace and almost killed him had the smoke not started billowing out the fireplace into the living room. Poor guy, went to all that trouble and I ran into her with a different guy by St. Patricks.


15. Got get those Omega 3s.

From my father in the 1980's: He's a young firefighter and gets called to an unknown medical call. Him and his partner show up and a very concerned gay man answers the door. They ask what the problem is and the homeowner guides them to the bedroom where another man is in bed under the covers. His partner tells him to take the covers off and show the firefighters.. he reluctantly removes the sheets to reveal a fish tail protruding from his rear end. They ask what happened and he said they used a frozen fish as a toy and it thawed out and the spiky dorsal fin was now latched in. My dad calls backup and the chief arrives at the house. He walks into the bedroom and assesses the situation and without missing a beat tells the man... "Son, you really need to learn to chew your food better."

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14. He got away cold.

Had a fellow who was running from the police. He decided to climb on board a chunk of ice that was flowing down the river. I am sure he thought he was a genius at the time, but the issue is that there isn't really a whole lot north of our town for a few hundred miles, so his long term planning wasn't great. Eventually we found him hiding in a small icy overhang on the side of the river suffering from hypothermia.

After a brief stay in hospital he ended up being arrested.

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13. Very tasty.

Not me, but my brother-in-law used to be a fireman in NYC. His worst story was a bunch of Spanish-speaking people who didn't speak a word of English had decided to have a pig roast ... in an apartment building ... in the bath tub. Naturally, the bath tub heated up the walls sufficiently that they started a roaring blaze. He said when he got there they were more interested in them saving the pig than putting out the fire.

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12. A regular inferno.

Rolled up to a three-plex row of two-story townhomes. The unit in the middle was blowing and going. By the time we put the fire out, there was a huge vee pattern on the back side of the complex, meaning you could see where the fire started at about waist level near the rear wall because everything above it was burned away upwards and outwards. Just completely cratered and gone in a vee all the way up to the (now mostly missing) roof.

Turns out the genius in the middle unit was trying to start his charcoal BBQ grill. Unfortunately, he didn't have any starter fluid, so he got the fantastic idea to use gasoline instead. Alas, the coals didn't completely catch the first time he lit them off, so he decided to pour on more gasoline. OUT OF THE GLASS JAR HE WAS USING TO STORE IT IN. A spark in the coals leapt up the pouring gas into the jar. Said genius panicked and threw the jar. Directly at the wall of his townhome. Where it exploded. He basically Molotov cocktailed his own home.

When we rolled up our hoses and went back in service, leaving the scene in the capable hands of the investigators, the neighbors from either side were angrily and animatedly grouped up on the sidewalk out front, waiting for Captain Stupid to return from the walk he had suddenly decided he needed to go on to "clear his head."

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11. They can charge for that?

Not a fire fighter, I'm a park ranger, but I once had to call the fire department to come and cut a teenager out of a baby swing in one of our parks. He tried to fit in the swing, and being an almost full grown adult he, of course, got stuck. They had to use giant clippers to get him out. The parks department charged his parents for the swing and the fire department charged them for a non-emergency rescue.

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10. Cats only.

8 year-old girl stuck up to her waist in one of those cat tree things with an enclosure in the bottom. The hole for the cat to get it was exactly the width of her waist, and once she got her arms in, she got them twisted up in such a way that she couldn't push herself out, and her mom couldn't pull her out. We ended up cutting it apart around her with Raptor shears, since those things are mostly just cardboard and carpet stapled together. By far the funniest call I've ever responded to.

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9. They should make those games easier.

Costco company policy now requires that all safes/cabinets/etc be locked closed on the display floor because of this little genius in my hometown who locked himself in. None of the employees had the key or combination, and apparently 911 is faster than a locksmith...

We cut the hinges off with a circular saw. Scared the crap out of the kid, but he was fine. It was Saturday, so we snagged a few free samples on the way out. All in all a good day!

We rescued another kid out of a stuffed animal game at the fair once too. The kid climbed up through the trap door trying to reach the toys and got stuck. That was a fun one too.

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8. She did the right thing.

My roommate was a firefighter. One day, firefighter Dave (not his real name) comes home looking exhausted. We could smell the smoke on him, so we knew he had seen some action that day.

We asked him about it and he just got this really sad, but humored look in his eye. An instagram model has set her apartment building on fire by filling her room with candles for some photo shoot where she would pretend to be doing yoga in the middle of hundreds of candles.

But she saw a spider sitting on one of the lit candles... So she sprayed some Raid at it.

The room pretty much ignited extremely quickly and, in her fear, she threw the bottle of Raid at the fire, and then hid in her shower across the hall.

She was still in the apartment when Dave kicked in the door and carried her out, her apartment engulfed in flames. She was close to passing out from smoke inhalation, so Dave had to cradle her in his arms. As he carries her to the window to be lowered on a ladder, she says “Wait”.

Dave stops, thinking she is about to tell him about someone else that needs rescuing.

She meekly lifts her phone and snaps a selfie, making the duck face and everything, flames in the background.

Apparently by the time he left, the Instagram model had posted the photo to her profile and it was already getting tons of likes.

From what I hear, though, she DID kill the spider. So technically she wasn’t a TOTAL moron.


7. Won't be telling the grandkids this one.

Get a call from a guy about cries for help coming from his neighbor’s house. The neighbor called 911. We roll up lights and sirens and sure enough, there’s a lady calling for help out the upstairs bedroom window.

“Ma’am, we’re with the fire department, are you injured?”

“No, it’s my husband, he’s unconscious, please hurry.”

“Is he breathing?"

"Yes, I think so.”

“Can you let us in?”

“No, just break down the door.”

So we break down the front door and rush upstairs to the master bedroom only be greeted by the woman, naked, chained spread eagle to the bed with her husband out cold on the floor, wearing nothing but a Batman cape and mask.

Evidently, during their kinky playtime, he had climbed up on a dresser, and was going to jump onto the bed, but slipped in some lube and knocked himself out cold. She was secured tight to the bed and unable to free herself and since this was mid 1980’s, there was no way to ask Siri or Alexa to call for help.

We loaded him up for a trip to the hospital and cut her loose so she could get dressed and join him. He made a full recovery.

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6. High stakes rescue.

I was a volunteer with a rural department in the foothills of Appalachia, in a very small college town. Like, roughly 1500 students and about 500 locals. Every year we had students fall off the side of the relatively gentle-sloping "mountains" around campus. These falls were rarely fatal or even likely to cause serious injury.

One of the frats had a big formal and we got the call that someone had wandered off from the party and couldn't be found. This is just before cell phones started to be everywhere, and cell phones didn't work very well around campus anyway. Turns out it is a guy in my class who I know pretty well.

We go out in the woods looking for him, and hear groaning down the side of one of the drop-offs. Not a far drop, about 15 feet, but sheer sides and no way to walk out. I personally have climbed down this little gulley before and climbed back out - it is not difficult - but this guy can't get it together and has no idea where he is. So we have to get the high-angle rescue truck to drive out there with all our ropes and the backboard and other stuff. Then we have to get all rigged up, using the appropriate anchors and systems that we were required to use in any high-angle rescue situation. Then we have to drop down there and try to backboard this moron.

The whole time he fought us on it. I'm sitting there trying to explain "hey man, it's me, your buddy, you know me, let me help you." Guy kept lurching away from us, taking swings, and rolling off the board whenever we finally got him on it. It took half of the small, undermanned fire department all goddamn night to get him out. Like, he literally had time to sober up enough to become cooperative.


5. Give this woman a hand.

I'm not the firefighter, but my brother's wife at the time was.

There was this massive structure fire at a barn in town that drew out nearly every truck in the general area - like 3 towns worth of fire fighters trying to get this thing under control. During all of this, there was some lady who continuously called 911 asking over and over again "What's going on at the farm up the road?" According to her, this woman would have to be a complete moron to not realize what was going on as the fire could be seen for miles.

Fast forward later into the night and one of the ambulances on scene suddenly leaves - obviously not normal for this sort of situation, but there isn't much time to question it. Fast forward still and as things are finally starting to calm down and are under control, one of the volunteers on the original ambulance comes over in his own car and shuffles sheepishly over to her and the chief of their department. He tells them that there is a woman a little ways down the road who called the ambulance (hence why they left) and requires a lift assist, but absolutely REFUSES to let the EMTs do it. No no, it has to be a fire fighter....

My brothers wife seeing that the other departments have things under control, goes with the man to see what's up. Apparently, it was the same woman who had called 911 over and over again and when they arrive, she is laying on the floor absolutely wailing.

EMTs say they can't find anything wrong from what they've been able to do,but with her requested firefighter they are finally able to get this woman up. They start asking her what happened, hoping she might be more willing to share with my brother's wife there and she says....

"I was just feeling a little ignored. I figured this would get your attention."

Grown woman just laid herself on the floor, called for help, insisted on a fire fighter when there was no need - all because the barn fire was getting way more attention than she was and the 911 operators wouldn't give her the gossip about what was going on.

I know she got in major trouble for abusing 911, but from what I hear from the people on both fire and ambulance, she has made a habit of calling for help whenever she feels she's not getting enough attention.

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4. Loose in the streets of Boston.

My dad was on the Boston Fire Department for a little over 35 years. For 13 of those years, he worked at a fire station in Dorchester. In Dorchester, there is a zoo. The Franklin Park Zoo. One morning in late September, they get a call to the Franklin Park Zoo for a young girl mauled by a gorilla.

This is the sort of call they’d get all the time. Gorilla jumps at the glass, kid gets scared, parents panic and call 911.

So they hop in the truck and ride on over. It’s one of those kinda foggy early fall mornings as they walk into the zoo. A couple of the other firefighters start walking into the zoo as my dad notices a man sitting on a bench holding a little girl in his arms. Assuming this is what the call is for, he walks over to the man. The little girl has a scrape on her forehead and she’s crying but is otherwise fine. The man looks like he just saw a ghost. So my dad asks the guy what’s going on.

The man just says “Little Joe is out.”

My dad says “What does that mean?”

The man just repeats “Little Joe is out.”

So my dad says “Who is Little Joe!?”

Little joe is a 500lb adolescent male silverback gorilla. Loose in the streets of Boston. It’s right about now that my dad realizes that he’s not exactly qualified to handle a gorilla, but he doesn’t know who to call, so he calls everyone.

Two minutes later the fire chief shows up, not knowing what the call was about yet and, jumps out of his car saying “Mark, Mark, is this about a stupid gorilla!?”

My dad says “Yeah, but how’d you hear that?”

The chief says “He’s standing at the bus stop on Seaver Street!”

Now the swat team shows up, hats on backwards, M16s in hand and my dad, being the joker he is, looks at the sergeant and says “Hey I don’t think this thing is armed.”

He caught a bit of flak for that later on.

Animal control and the swat team worked together to take down little joe. It took 14 tranquilizer darts before he finally went unconscious. Little Joe is still alive and well at the Franklin Park Zoo.

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3. A hero is born every day.

We got a call about a little kid stuck in a bath tub. Nobody could make heads or tails of how a child can get physically stuck in a bathtub, so we rocked up in one of our engines and had a look.

What had happened was that the child, almost three years old, had been left in the bath to play while it drained. The drain had a screwed-down sieve in it, with five holes. Kiddo had five fingers, and must have thought it a good idea to jam them into said holes. Of course, they swelled up and got stuck. So now we had a kid attached to a bathtub drain, and no way to get at the screw holding him there.

A buddy and me were sent down to get: ear plugs, dog plushie, spare helmet, safety goggles, angle grinder (gas-powered), and a large hammer.

We filled the tub back up a bit, enough so kiddo's hand was covered in water for cooling. We gave him the plushie, with instructions to make sure it doesn't get wet, gave him ear plugs and a Real Life Fireman's Helmet(tm), and went to town. Four quick cuts around the drain hole, then bash in the tiles, and finally another cut through the drain.

We then transported the boy/tub hybrid to the hospital for dehybridization, since the fingers had become quite blue, and we didn't want to induce tourniquet removal syndrome without access to proper medical care.

The little guy joined the youth fire department as soon as he was old enough, we must have left a good impression.

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2. Not worth getting fired over.

My dad worked for IBM's AS/400 (A mainframe system) tech support division for over 10 years (1992 to 2003). A customer called in because he needed to run a report and send it out to the networked printer. For whatever reason, the report was failing to generate and the guy on the phone was freaking out because some corporate big-wig demand that this report be printed and on his desk by 3pm. Just another day at work.

About 10 minutes into the call my dad starts to hear this strange high pitched noise in the background.

Dad, "Uhh, if you don't mind my asking, what's that noise it the background?"

Caller, "Oh, that's the fire alarm."

"Fire alarm?"

"Yeah, the building is on fire."

"Far be it from me to tell you what to do, but shouldn't you get out of there?"

"Dan... you don't understand. I HAVE to get this report printed, now are you going to help me or not?"

So they continue to troubleshoot the issue. A few minutes after that my dad hears shouting in the background.

Dad, "Umm, there seems to be a lot of yelling in the background, is everything OK?"

Caller, "Yeah, it's fine. It's just the firefighters evacuating the building."

"Shouldn't you get out of there too?"

"Dan I absolutely HAVE to get this report printed are you going to help me?"

"I'm not sure that I should."

"We pay our support contract. I have to get this printed and you have to help me! It's almost 3pm!"

"It's just a report I don't think it's worth risking your life."

The caller starts to get furious when the shouting in the background gets much louder. A firefighter has come over to the guy on the phone and starts barking orders at him to get out of the building. The caller tells the firefighter "Look, I have to print this report before 3 and I can't leave until it's printed." Over the phone dad hears the firefighter scream, "I don't care about your report the building is on fire! Now MOVE!"

There's a scuffling noise and the phone handset on the other end drops to the ground as the firefighter physically drags the caller away. After that, all dad could hear was the sound of the fire alarm and various crackling noises.

Needless to say, the report did not get printed by 3pm.

device-error-154484_1280-300x261.pngImage by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

1. Fireworks on the job.

So back in my Harbor Master days the town would have a 4th of July fireworks display every year and we would work together with the fire department to keep everything safe. The town would bring in a barge with something like 2,000 big ol' mortars on it. We along with the Coast Guard, State Environmental Police and a few local cops with boats would set up a stay back area around the barge for the show. Nothing serious ever happened so we generally sat around with the best seats in the house.

So we are all sitting their celebrating our independence by annihilating as much of the sky as the town budget would allow. About 2/3rds of the way I notice a small fire on the front of the barge. So I give everyone a heads up on the radio. From a distance we see one of the crew run across this barge vomiting projectiles into the sky, with a fire extinguisher in hand. About the same time as he arrives the fire flares up big time. The guy just throws the fire extinguisher into said fire and starts running back to where apparently they had a protected area. Before he makes it back there is a massive flare up/explosion. Everybody hits their lights and starts racing to get to the crew. That's when the remaining fireworks started going off. We were the second ones to arrive, and the one of the Assistant HM's is yelling at the crew to get off the barge. There are dozens of fireworks going off, you can feel an intense heat every single time. Balls of fire just flying every witch way. The crew is refusing to leave, one guy is yelling at my coworker that they can't because all of their belongings were on the front of the barge, where the fireworks were exploding in their tubes. The look on my guy's face was priceless, he just reaches up and starts pulling people down into his boat. I think by the time he grabbed the second guy they all got the message and started jumping in. We all bust out of there asap. Somehow the only injuries were minor from them jumping into the boat. Though I did hear that one of the coast guard boats won itself a nice hole in the roof, I never actually saw it.

We then make a call to the tug boat that brought the barge to turn its water cannon on the thing. We got a big negatory from them on that one as they weren't going anywhere near the thing. The next option was the volunteer fire department. The problem was that they didn't have a fire boat, just trucks. So the possibly inebriated firemen need to commandeer the local three car ferry, and use that to get their truck to the barge. It took them about 30 min to get there and foam the thing down. It was a pretty funny sight watching them trundle on by having a laugh about being on a ferry. We actually had to bring in the freaking bomb squad from the local large city but they couldn't make it till the next day. When we finally got the report, the fire was caused by, you guessed it. All of the crews belongings which were apparently sitting next to the mortars and not with them behind the barrier. The kicker was all of the companies insurance and licenses etc were with their stuff so they were all gone too. Just all round fun in small town America.

Riverfire_Fireworks_from_Southbank_5083193404-300x200.jpgWikimedia Commons