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
9 Killed In Army Black Hawk Helicopter Crash In Kentucky

Nondice Thurman, a spokesperson for Fort Campbell, said Thursday morning that the deaths happened the previous night in southwestern Kentucky during a routine training mission.

March 30, 2023Associated Press
richard stayskal act military medical malpractice
DOD Denies Most Stayskal Act Malpractice Claims

Master Sgt. Richard Stayskal was diagnosed with lung cancer long after military doctors missed a tum...

March 29, 2023Maggie BenZvi
ukraine lessons learned
Opinion & Essay
Nolan Peterson: Lessons From Russia's Invasion of Ukraine

After living in and reporting from Ukraine the last nine years, conflict journalist Nolan Peterson h...

March 28, 2023Nolan Peterson
ukrainian wounded soldiers
‘On Tour In Hell’: Wounded Ukrainian Soldiers Evacuated

With bandaged heads and splinted limbs, the wounded soldiers are stretchered into the waiting medica...

March 27, 2023Associated Press
US oil mission
US Launches Airstrikes in Syria After Drone Kills US Worker

While it’s not the first time the U.S. and Iran have traded airstrikes in Syria, the attack and the ...

March 24, 2023Associated Press
The Gift jason dunham
‘The Gift’ Explores the Life and Legacy of Medal of Honor Recipient Jason Dunham

"The Gift" tells the story of the first Marine to receive the Medal of Honor after the Vietnam War. ...

March 24, 2023Mac Caltrider
uss milius
US Denies Chinese Claim It Drove Away American Destroyer

The U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet said that a statement from China's Southern Theatre Command that it had fo...

March 23, 2023Associated Press
The Speed Project: Vet Team To Run in Lawless, Invite-Only Ultramarathon

For the first time, a team of (mostly) US veterans and active-duty service members will run in The S...

March 23, 2023Jenna Biter
  • About Us
  • Privacy Policy
  • Careers
Contact Us
  • Request a Correction
  • Write for Us
  • General Inquiries
© 2023 Coffee or Die Magazine. All Rights Reserved