Being a firefighter seems like a thankless job. It’s one of the only public safety careers that can be entirely voluntary.
They do more than risk their lives to put out a fire though. Sometimes, they have to help out an idiot who got themselves into a pickle.
Here are some first-hand stories from firefighters who had to rescue the dumbest people from a stupid situation. It’s amazing they were able to do this without laughing.
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.
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 would just get drunk and urinate/defecate himself until he was physically stuck to the chair and they had to cut him out.
Years ago we had this call straight out of Caddyshack.
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.
Then the gopher sprinted into the guy’s shed while 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.
Hurricane Floyd. Eastern NC. I had a farmer with a large family that refused to evacuate his house. Stubborn bastard.
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 f**k off, but five minutes later he had the whole family in the vehicle and they got the hell out.
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 three towns worth of firefighter 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 firefighter….
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 firefighter 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.
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 four 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.
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 [jerks] 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 slowdown 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 a**holes lose their Jeep and the remainder of their booze.
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 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.
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 idiots 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 [TV] 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
Fire department and the paramedics [were called] 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.
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-driver 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 so that at least the semi can back out. We needed another month until the road was free again.
I remember asking a firefighter about this once, and he said a guy who was [having relations with] a woman. When her husband came home, so he jumped out the second-story window naked and impaled himself through the upper leg on a fence paling.
It was one of those fleur de lis ones, so it [messed] up his leg pretty badly. They had to cut the paling out of the fence and load him into an ambulance.
A young [teenage] girl who decided those toddler swings with the seat you stick their legs through like a little basket so they can’t fall out was made for a teenage girl. She got stuck and lost blood flow to her legs. We had to cut her down and get her to a hospital to have it safely removed due to it basically becoming a tourniquet on both her legs.
I was called to a home to get a pie out of the oven 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 “Something stuck in oven and unable to turn off the stove.”
Still #1 call in 32 years.
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 the hell 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 F***ING 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 smarta** 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. And here’s the picture of him at the bus stop for those of you who don’t believe me.
Two bikini-clad girls had to be rescued from a swift-moving river in a canoe. Neither girl brought a life vest or a PADDLE…
Former fire and rescue firefighter here…
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.