How Pooler’s Firefighters Saved Holly Avenue Man Trapped Under Truck

February 1, 2022Noelle Wiehe
Pooler, Georgia

Teams from the City of Pooler Department of Fire-Rescue Services toil to free a Georgia man pinned under his truck on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022. City of Pooler Department of Fire-Rescue Services photo.

POOLER, Ga. — For at least 10 minutes on Jan. 26, screams drifted along Holly Avenue here. Finally, a neighbor heard them, turned down the TV, and went out to see what all the commotion was about.

A construction worker after a long day thought he had just enough vim left to work on his 2005 Dodge 1500 pickup, but the jack stands failed and the 2-ton truck walloped down on top of him, pinning him at the waist. 

So he started howling.

“In all honesty, it was really the only thing he could have done,” City of Pooler Fire-Rescue Department Chief Wade Simmons told Coffee or Die Magazine. “He couldn’t get out from underneath it; he didn’t have a phone close by that he could use to call for help.”

Dodge pickup
A Pooler Police Department officer helps a Georgia man stay calm Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022, while he is pinned under a Dodge 1500 pickup truck. Photo redacted by City of Pooler. City of Pooler Department of Fire-Rescue Services photo.

The neighbor rang 911 at 5:19 p.m. Within three minutes and nine seconds, both the city’s police department and fire service’s Rescue 61, Engine 61, and Battalion 60 were there.

“Fortunately, we’ve got a station that’s about a mile and a half from where that was at,” Simmons said. “That worked out to his advantage and to our advantage as far as being able to get there quickly.”

The Pooler Department of Fire-Rescue Services is comprised of career firefighters spread among four stations, and another station is being built in this booming Georgia city. At least 16 personnel are on duty at any given time, Simmons said, and they answer more than 5,000 calls annually.

But it’s not every day they find a Dodge pickup truck on top of a resident.

Dodge pickup truck
A man is trapped under his Dodge 1500 pickup truck on Holly Avenue in Pooler, Georgia, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022. City of Pooler Department of Fire-Rescue Services photo.

“Everything shifted in some way, shape, or form on him,” Simmons said. “I don’t know if it was equipment failure, or what actually caused it to slide off.”

During the dash to Holly Avenue, the rescue coordinator, Capt. Josh Daniels, worked out a game plan with his team to save the man’s life. And he was mulling inside his brain two or three other possibilities “just in case” that went south, he told Coffee or Die.

When he pulled up, Daniels saw a “very frantic” guy who had been stuck for maybe as long as 20 minutes, but at least he could still talk. 

So they went about executing Plan A. Rescue 61 and Engine 61 got out the hydraulic spreaders — often termed the “jaws of life” — and began extricating the trapped resident. 

Dodge pickup truck
City of Pooler Department of Fire-Rescue Capt. Josh Daniels and the Rescue 61 and Engine 61 teams free a man pinned under his pickup truck on Jan. 26, 2022, on Holly Avenue in Pooler, Georgia. City of Pooler Department of Fire-Rescue Services photo.

These spreaders can rip, pull, and twist steel from a truck like a potter tugs apart wet clay, but this one just needed to lift the pickup. Daniels estimated they had the man freed within two minutes of parking their trucks. 

“My guys honestly made it easy, you know?” Daniels said. “They usually make my job pretty simple, especially when it comes to responding to incidents. They’re pretty squared away.”

The rescuers found that the truck had settled on the man’s waist and an ankle, but it didn’t seem to do too much damage, mostly “some obvious bruising,” Daniels said. The captain said they got a little lucky because the vehicle shifted toward the grass and not the concrete, which might’ve “been a whole different outcome for him.”

The man was taken to HCA-Memorial Medical Center, a Level I trauma center in Savannah, but strolled into the fire station the next day to thank his rescuers with kind words and pastries.

Read Next: A Tuesday in Hell: Daring Police Rescue Inside a Burning Bronx Apartment 

Noelle Wiehe
Noelle Wiehe

Noelle is a former staff writer for Coffee or Die through a fellowship from Military Veterans in Journalism. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and interned with the US Army Cadet Command. Noelle also worked as a civilian journalist covering several units, including the 75th Ranger Regiment on Fort Benning, before she joined the military as a public affairs specialist.

More from Coffee or Die Magazine
dear jack mandaville
Dear Jack: Which Historic Battle Would You Want To Witness?

Ever wonder how much Jack Mandaville would f*ck sh*t up if he went back in time? The American Revolution didn't even see him coming.

west point time capsule
West Point Time Capsule Yields Centuries-Old Coins

A nearly 200-year-old West Point time capsule that at first appeared to yield little more than dust contains hidden treasure, the US Military Academy said.

Ouija Board aircraft carrier
Low-Tech ‘Ouija Boards’ Have Helped Aircraft Carriers Operate for Decades

Since the 1920s, a low-tech tabletop replica of an aircraft carrier’s flight deck has been an essential tool in coordinating air operations.

Army vs. Navy mascot
The Navy Goat vs. the Army Mule: Mascot Origin Stories

For nearly as long as the Army-Navy football rivalry, the academies’ hoofed mascots have stared each other down from the sidelines. Here are their stories.

ukraine long-range weapon
Zelenskyy Says Ukraine Has Developed a Long-Range Weapon, a Day After Strike Deep Inside Russia

Zelenskyy said on his Telegram channel the weapon was produced by Ukraine’s Ministry of Strategic Industries but gave no other details.

7 of the Best Movie Ambush Scenes of All Time

Ambushes make for great action scenes. Here are seven of the best to ever grace the big screen.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, with his daughter, center right, reportedly named Ju Ae, review the honor guard during their visit to the navy headquarter in North Korea
North Korea Launches Missile Toward Sea After US Flies Bomber During Drills

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that the launch occurred Wednesday but gave no further details, such as how far the missile flew.

  • About Us
  • Privacy Policy
  • Careers
Contact Us
Contact Us
© 2023 Coffee or Die Magazine. All Rights Reserved