Firefighters and EMTs are meant to save our lives when they’re at risk, but sometimes, they get calls that aren’t exactly the ones they expect. They receive requests for help when people have objects stuck in certain body parts or when they’ve somehow strung themselves up to trees. They get calls when people use household products incorrectly and of course, calls when cats are stuck in trees.
The EMTs and brave firefighters who’ve shared their stories with us have faced it all and more. If you’d like to recount some of their experiences, keep reading.
42. Accidentally Bumped Into It
I once responded to an emergency call on base. The call was a vague medical emergency where the R.P. was crying and kept saying they needed an ambulance. The dispatcher had called ahead and the barracks manager was waiting with a key. We opened the door to find a young seaman with his pants and underwear around his ankles surrounded by adult stuff and lube on the floor. He was just standing there on his tiptoes, tears running down his face and softly moaning. I walked over to him only to realize that the doorknob to his bathroom was up his butt and still attached to the door.
Dumbfounded, I looked at him expectantly and he said: “I backed up into it by accident.” Being already out of breath, I had to sit down as the laughter began. When EMS arrived, they couldn’t believe it either. They ended up cutting the door around the knob and transporting him with the knob still up his butt. As it was, they had to take him down eight flights of stairs. With each bump down the steps, the knob would move and he would yelp. By the fifth floor, it wasn’t funny anymore.
41. “Oh, That’s Where That Went”
A morbidly obese woman had severe side pains and called the FD for help. In between her fat, we found what appeared to be the remains a sandwich and remote control.
The decayed sandwich had been the nest for some maggots which had dug their way through her skin and were crawling around under her skin. And all she said was, “Oh that’s where that went.”
40. To See Is To Believe
My step-dad was a firefighter and he told me he once got called to a house party where a kid was really drunk and hurt himself. When he got there, he found out one of the kids had shoved a pool ball up his butt. So they took him to the hospital to have it removed.
Later that night, they got another call to the same house party, only to find the same kid had shoved another pool ball up his butt, claiming no one believed he did it the first time.
39. Dead Man’s Punch
My firefighter cousin was out on his shift and a call had come in for them. The man was practically dead by the time they arrived, but my cousin was told to perform CPR just in case.
As he was leaning over and pumping the man’s chest, rigor was beginning to set in and his arm flew straight upwards. My cousin got punched in the face by a dead man. It broke his glasses and everything.
38. Piano Wire Floss
I was dispatched to a call for a man high on PCP at his mother’s house and his family was worried about him. When I arrived, it was the bloodiest scene I’ve ever seen. There was blood all over the floor, on the walls, and on the ceiling.
When I walked all the way into the room, I saw a naked man sitting on the floor flossing his teeth. Apparently, the guy was high on PCP and was flossing his teeth with piano wire. It ended up destroying the guy’s teeth and gums.
37. Death By Flour
My father responded to a suicide attempt when he was a firefighter/EMT. He entered the kitchen of the house to find a 300-pound black woman, completely naked with the kitchen and herself completely caked in white power.
She was crying hysterically and after five minutes, they finally got her to explain that she tried to commit suicide by snorting baking flour. Like wow!
My grandfather was a firefighter, and they got a call saying that someone heard screaming in the house next door. When he got to the house, the person wouldn’t open their door. So they went in themselves, and found what was going on in the bedroom. A naked lady was strapped to the bed, and her partner was knocked out in a Batman suit next to the bed.
It turns out they were role-playing, and he thought it would be a good idea to jump onto the bed. However, he hit his head on the ceiling fan and got knocked out, while his wife/girlfriend couldn’t get out from the straps to the bed.
35. The Leather Incident
A few weeks ago, we got dispatched to a candle burning through the floor of an apartment. Come to find out, the person inside was practicing auto-erotica when he fell over and knocked the candle over.
Luckily for him, his neighbor heard him yelling for help and contacted our department. Of course, he wasn’t able to open the door for us so we forced our entry. When we got in, he was wearing only leather chaps and a leather mask, bound to a chair.
34. Taser Threat
I’m a firefighter and this is what happened. The call dropped as a “40-year-old male that had an adult toy stuck in his butt.” Yeah, that was said over the radio. It wasn’t a busy night so all the cops arrived. We got the toy out. And it was rolling around, still vibrating.
All the cops were sitting there talking and my captain said he’d give me $50 to pick it up and throw it at the cops. I had gloves on and as soon as I picked the toy up, the cops had their tasers out and aimed right for my chest! Needless to say, I was about to poop my pants.
33. A Poop Emergency
I arrived and I find myself having a hard time breathing due to the smell of crap. I see the person who seems to be high as heck. We stand her up and her pants are clearly full of poop, so we walk her to the ambulance and I begin an IV on her.
I then grab her arm to find a vein and as usual, I place it in my lap. The paramedic shouts at me to wait, then throws a sheet in my lap. She had pooped all over her hands and arms and I hadn’t spotted it earlier. It turns out, she had been playing in the poop.
32. A Grill Worth Dying For
I was just starting as a firefighter and I would go out as a follower. On one visit, a person had been found in a closet who had suffocated herself by taking a grill in there and lighting it. I can’t remember what type of grill or anything of the like, but while we were in there taking photos and getting paperwork lined up, the guy I was following kept eyeballing the grill.
He made a note about how it was brand new with tag and all still on it. He leaned to me and said, “Man, a grill like that would fetch a nice chunk of change on Craigslist; we could even put a title on it stating that this grill is to die for!”
31. Self Adventurer
One day, we got a call for a man with pain in his rectum. When we get on scene, we find the patient lying face down with his butt straight in the air. After asking him what was going on we noticed that there is a 2-liter bottle of coke wedged into his butt (you don’t just start with a 2-liter bottle; obviously he had to work his way up to that).
We took him to the closest ER and after x-rays, they said the top of the bottle was up to his belly button and that this wasn’t his first time in the ER. The same patient came in a month prior for having 10 pebbles that you would find in a fish tank wedged into his junk.
30. Don’t Judge A Book…
My best friend’s mom is a firefighter. She told me about a call where a roofer suffered a heart attack on a multi-level million-dollar home. By the time they arrived the man was not doing so well. He was very burly/stocky and 300+lbs.
This guy was stacked full of muscle. They cut his clothes off to start CPR and when they do this they find out that the man is wearing a pink corset, nylons and a thong underneath his clothing.
29. Not Dead Yet
One night, it was wicked rainy and dark and we got a bunch of calls about a truck that ran through a couple of telephone poles. So when we get there, we found that the driver had been flung through the front windshield and wasn’t moving. The puddle of blood under him was just getting bigger. We were almost certain the guy was dead, but we couldn’t go up and check because a powerline was down right by the accident and there was no getting anywhere near until the power company shut it down.
It took a long time, but we finally pulled through and got the power turned off. My partner and I go up, and I jokingly say, “Hey, I think this guy is dead. How about you?” and the guy raises his head and goes “No I’m not!”
28. Heated Nuts
I’m a firefighter and once, we responded to the home of an elderly man that was “stuck to his chair.” It turns out, the man was sitting on one of those white plastic patio furniture stools in the shower.
Well, the stool got hot and the plastic became pliable and his nuts fell through the slats. When the stool cooled off, the slats became rigid again and he was stuck. At least the old man was a good sport about the whole ordeal.
27. Man, You’re Drunk!
I was a volunteer firefighter. One of the old-timers shouts, “The house next door is on fire!” We all jump into action and pull one of the pumpers out onto the apron and start to prepare to attack the raging fire right next door. The occupant of the house is on the front lawn half-dressed and drunk off his butt shouting over and over again, “My kids! My god-d***ed kids!” We assume he is trying to drunkenly tell us that there are kids in the house so as we send in a line to fight the fire me and another two guys start a rescue check. We enter the front door and start working our way along the wall to the right. The first room off the living room is a bedroom that is obviously inhabited by a little kid.
As I crawl over the top of the bed, I look down and my heart stops….a tiny arm is sticking out from under the bed. I scream through my air-packs mask, “I found one,” and pull out a doll. It turns out, drunky was upset because his wife left him and took the kids and he set the house on fire because he passed out while cooking himself something to eat.
26. Not Afraid of Fire, But Afraid of Spiders
When I was on the FD, we had a call for a power line down at a cell tower up on a hill in the middle of nowhere. This was during a bad storm. We get there and the power line for the cell tower is lying in the road. There is a number on the shack at the bottom of the antenna so we call the number. While trying to get a hold of someone from the cell tower, which is running on a generator and possibly still energizing the line that is laying on the street, we realize the door to the shack is unlocked so we’re all standing inside it out of the rain. The asst. chief is on his phone talking to some guy about the antenna and all of a sudden he goes pale white, like a ghost, then walks out the door into the rain and tells us all to get out.
It turns out, the guy on the phone had told him that whatever happens, don’t go in the shack because it is infested with brown recluse spiders that are attracted by the warmth. Everyone was shitting bricks when they heard that.
25. Too High To Notice the Fire
My dad is a firefighter and he told me about a time when they had gotten a call about a house fire in a bad part of town. When they got to the scene. there was smoke billowing from the place.
So they get to the front door and kick it down. The first thing they see is a group of guys sitting around a table playing cards. They were so high they didn’t realize that the house was on fire.
24. Needed To Relax
We showed up at a house fire once. The house was shaped like the letter “L” and the fire was in the bottom right spreading left. The man outside told us that his wife was still asleep in the top tip of the L. No problem; that part wasn’t on fire. A couple of guys went in and got her out while our engineer was getting water ready and I was staging as first suppression team. When she came out she was coughing from the smoke, but she was OK. The medic gave her some oxygen and then I went in and put the wet stuff on the red stuff.
With the fire mostly under control, we were walking around locating hot spots in the walls and whatnot when we came to the bathroom in the bottom corner of the L. Somehow this lady had snuck away from the medic and her husband, back into the house, and started taking a bath while we were still actively fighting fire. I kid you not. She said that the stress from her house being on fire was just too much so she had to take a bath to relax. She was coughing up a lung. I’ll never understand that choice, but I admire her resolve.
23. New Firefighter’s Job
I was in a junior firefighter program when I was 15 in my small town. I’m talking really small town, like 400 people. One night, a guy was heading home drunk in his pickup truck; he flipped the truck and wasn’t wearing his seat belt. While the truck was in the air, he managed to hang halfway out his side window. The truck landed on its side and slid for about a 100 feet. So there was blood and car parts everywhere.
Being a small town in the middle of BFE there is no cleanup crew. Who do they call to clean up? The fire department. I’m walking around at night with a flashlight, rubber gloves, and a bag, picking up pieces of this drunk guy.
22. Don’t Drink And Parachute
The other day there were 45-60 m.p.h. winds here. A call came over the radio dispatching us to a man parachuting who had fallen 120 ft. My first thought was what the hell was he thinking in this wind. The second thought was trying to figure out what caused him to fall.
It turns out because it was so windy, the guy thought he could use the same theory as parasailing, using the wind to lift him up. He tied himself off to a tree and strapped the parachute on. Up he went. He was around 150 feet up when the wind speed dropped. He started floating down when the rope broke. Without the rope holding him stationary, the wind provided no lift and the chute folded and down he went. When we arrived, there was a strong odor of alcohol in the air. We asked how much the person had to drink and it started off as 1 beer. It quickly changed and when all was said and done, he admitted to no less than seven beers.
21. A Mother’s Devotion
We responded to a call for a severely obese man – 700+ pounds. He fell out of bed, and couldn’t get up. In fact, the guy hadn’t been out of his bed in over a year! The room was so small, there was no way possible to get any equipment in the room to lift that much weight or even get him out the doorways of the building. After sizing up the situation, and considering the circumstances it was decided to take the guy to the hospital. The only way to get him out of the house was to cut the exterior wall out of the apartment and use a forklift to pick the guy up and place him on a flatbed truck with a mattress on it, by using the fire hoses as the lifting slings.
We spend hours rigging it up, to be safe, but I don’t think any of us working on it thought it would work. The ridiculous part? The guy’s mother was feeding him, and of course, cleaning up the poop – but why? Some weird mothering instincts took over and she fed him huge amounts of food, like two dozen donuts a day, two roasted chickens, six Whoppers, etc., and then clean up the huge piles of poop. I can’t even imagine why or how she could do that or even afford it.
20. Oily Shower
My step-dad who is a firefighter had ran a call to an RV that was parked on the side of the Interstate. Once getting there, a man told them his wife was stuck in the shower. It appears that the woman was showering as the man was driving through heavy traffic. He’d had to hit the brakes, causing her to slip and wedge herself into the tiny space.
The thing was, this woman was rather large. And “rather large” is putting it nicely. And somehow, she’d created a vacuum when she fell, so that three firefighters couldn’t pull out this woman. So a couple of the firefighters got back in the truck, went to the grocery store and bought a couple of bottles of Wesson cooking oil. Once back, they coated her in it, shoved their hands between flesh and shower wall, and managed to finally break the seal. Aside from pride, she was deemed to be OK.
19. Out The Window
One night, we responded to a house fire and there was a woman standing outside who was the tenant. We were told there was no one in the home but we still did a search.
While searching the bedroom, my friend found something on the bed; it turns out it was her adult toy (man’s private part). He threw it out the window and it hit another fireman on the head. Needless to say, the woman was mortified.
18. Scan And Run
There was the old hoarder lady with a fire alarm activation. I was a lt. a firefighter at the time so I knock on the door- after about eight locks click, I see her face in the crack, she tries to wave me off, but I insist, and go inside. As soon as I enter, I’m hit in the face with a blast of ammonia from old cat piss. The smell of corruption and a 12″ path through newspapers stacked shoulder-high (on me, it was over her head) were also present.
Then, to my horror, I hear the door close behind me, and locks click, now I’m locked in. I press on, but go on air just to survive. I find the activated head, scan for heat and fire, and get the hell out of there; I didn’t want to find out what had died in there.
17. Liquefied Poo
Our fire department had an EMS run for an older man who was vomiting. When we got there, the whole house smelled like poop. Come to find out, this guy could not remember when he had his last bowel movement. He actually told us it could have been weeks or months. We soon found out that he was pooping out of his mouth! He would vomit liquefied poo every 30 seconds, and the nearest hospital was 20 minutes away!
He ended up using all of the puke bags that we had in the squad and by the time we made it to the hospital, the floor of the squad was covered in it. The worst part was when our driver opened the back door once we arrived at the hospital; what had accumulated in the rear of the squad poured out onto him. That has been my worst EMS experience thus far.
16. The CAT-apult
So one day we get this non-emergency call on the FD’s landline and it is a kind old woman who is very concerned about her cat which has been in the top of a tree for about 24 hours and seems unable to get down. I kindly explained to her that we do not respond to calls about cats stuck in trees. She tells me that this is her only cat and she would be happy to make us a double batch of cookies if we would just please get her cat out of the tree. We arrive on the scene with a firetruck, an ambulance, and the battalion chief’s SUV and she is standing out on the lawn waiting for us. She leads us into the backyard and shows us a 50-foot cedar tree, which has Clyde perched on top of it. So we grab a ladder and send the rookie up the tree, he gets about 25 feet up there on the 30 ft ladder but can’t climb the tree any higher because the branches are thin, so our battalion chief orders him to tie a knot around the tree with the end of a rope and come back down.
Now the whole crew slowly starts to pull the tree over. Suddenly the knot that the rookie tied around the tree comes free and the tree snaps back up to its original position at like 50 miles an hour and launches Clyde the cat out of the back yard, across a small creek bed and into the blackberry bushes about 100 feet away. I will never forget the sight of that cat the moment that knot snapped and the death grip it had on the tree as it shot back upwards. Nor the way it cartwheeled end over end and disappeared into a dense crop of blackberries well out of our line of sight. And I definitely won’t forget the noise it made either, and let me tell you, it is exactly the noise you think a cartwheeling cat might make; sort of a ROWRahrowrAROWRarowraROWR.
15. Rangling Cows in the Dark
One night in June, there was a particularly strong storm system rolling through, so the volunteers were sent out to “storm spot,” as was customary. While out spotting, a call came in that cows were running loose in the street and, needing to assemble a group of men quickly to round them up; the owner had called the fire department.
The FD went over to the farm, including me, and traipsed around in this horrific thunderstorm chasing cows in the dark. The cows had gotten loose because they stampeded through the fence, all because of a bear, making securing them all the more difficult. We were facing a tornado, lightning, a bear and scared cows all at once, in the dark.
14. When You’re Happy And You Know It
One night while we responded to a house fire, I jumped in the truck with my new elected chief since he lived nearby. We got down the street and he then pulled over. He jumped out of the vehicle and stood in front of the vehicle while the lights were going he was just starring at the flashes coming off of the light bar.
I got out of the truck and he was jumping up and down and clapping his hands like a little kid, singing “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.” It seemed like he was happy responding to a house fire, but still, it’s pretty creepy to me.
13. Wild Babe In The City
My lieutenant and I are standing to see two small grass fires as well as some smoldering wreckage of a Naval T-45 trainer. We’re told to stay by our trucks until the wreckage is cleared, when we see one of the naval firefighters hauling around the front of our truck, yelling “Climb up! Get off the ground!” We don’t question the guy and almost vault on top of our truck.
I look over the side, not knowing what to expect, and see a freaking wild pig running towards the truck. She hits the side, bounces back a little, snorts, and runs off into the brush, where we now notice a pack of piglets coming around her, then following deeper in. Then we look at the NAS guy, and he just shrugs, says “I dunno what set her off, but she charged me.” Then he just got back down and went about his business, while we stand there, looking at each other, laughing.
12. Fun In The Bathtub
I am a firefighting student and my step-father and mother were volunteer firefighters. They got a call from the medics to respond to a lift assist call at a local hotel. They got there, and there was a very very large man who got stuck in the bathtub, naked. My step-father had to get in the tub and try and pull him out, which didn’t work.
So there my step-dad is, in his bunker gear, shin-deep in water with a naked dude. Finally, they lubed up the guy and pulled him out. My mother was hardly useful on the call, as she had to go into the hallway to laugh because my father was caught in a bathtub with a big naked guy.
11. When You Gotta Go
At about 3 a.m., we were dispatched on an occupied double-wide mobile home fire. Having just been awakened from a deep sleep, I had to pee like a racehorse, but not wanting to waste a second, I jumped on the squad and off we went. Every bump was agonizing, and there were a lot of them. When we arrived, I immediately began a primary which was negative, then we assisted the engine crews with extinguishment. About 6 or 8 minutes or so into the call, we had the fire knocked down. I could no longer function. I was about to explode! If I didn’t find a place to go, I was going to have to let loose in my bunker pants.
Still almost zero visibility from the smoke, I finally stumbled into a bathroom and aimed for what was either the toilet or the tub. At that point, it didn’t matter. Aaaaaahhhhhh relief at last!!!!! I must have been going for a good 20 seconds, when suddenly the wind shifted, the air cleared, and I found myself peeing into the broken remains of a toilet bowl, no tank, and no exterior wall remaining behind it! Just 15-20 onlookers about 25 feet away. A couple of them were pointing directly at me!
10. Just His Underwear
A man fell asleep on the toilet smoking. He dropped the cigarette in his underwear and set off the apartment fire alarms.
We then responded as it’s only four blocks away from the fire station. The man comes out of his apartment with only the elastic band of his underwear in his hand saying “No fire! Just my underwear.”
9. Kiddie Truck Accident
The dispatcher reported a “pedestrian/ motor vehicle accident with a 3-year-old girl hit by a truck with injuries.” Well, as you can imagine, your heart skips a beat whenever the tones drop, but when a child is involved it has that much more of an impact. Your mind starts playing out all of the horrors that you are going to see, and you start to prepare yourself.
Upon arriving on the scene, I saw an older lady and a young girl sitting on the lawn under a tree. As I ran up to them, the little girl was crying and the older lady had a paper towel pressed to her forehead. Asking what had happened, the older lady said to me, “Her older brother threw a truck at her and hit her in the head and she was bleeding.” It turns out it was a little matchbox truck that the 3-year-old was hit with.
8. In The Dog House
We got a call at night around 11:30 pm, three kilometers away, for a lady who was crying and said her house was on fire. When rolled out; we had a full rescue firetruck plus three men in each of the other trucks and 10 in our crew van.
When we got there, we didn’t see any fire or even smoke. The lady then told us that her dog was trapped under its dog house and told us that the only reason she said her house was on fire was because she didn’t think we would come.
7. Not Even A “Thank You”
Screw rescuing cats from burning buildings! I’ve been sent in to get cats from a building with a now under control, but not extinguished, fire, and cats get scared easily and love to leap at your face with their claws out when you try to rescue them.
And to make it worse, the lady didn’t even thank me when I brought her the cat. And when I told my mom about it later that day, she’s like “oh I saw the news and that lady said she rescued her cat on there.” I was kinda bummed.
6. Do This And That
There was a minor car crash. The guy involved was at least 60 and very nice, just like an old storytelling grandpa. His door was hit by another car and he was jammed, but not badly injured, just in some minor pain. We had to cut the door away which took us some time.
The funny thing is, he was also a volunteer firefighter from somewhere else and constantly told us what we had to do, what we were doing wrong and we should just give him the tools and he would do it himself.
5. Creep In A Forest Fire
Me and my fellow firemen were out in the middle of nowhere basically fighting a forest fire in Arizona. There wasn’t any real danger to people because of how remote this location was. But off in the distance, we saw a figure, a brightly colored figure walking calmly.
As we squinted and started to pursue the figure, we realized there was a fully dressed, and face painted clown out in the middle of nowhere; there were no campgrounds and no houses for miles. And he had nothing on him. He was just calmly walking alone in the middle of the forest. While we started to get closer but still fighting through the brush, the clown saw he was being followed and evaded us and was never seen again. No one had heard anything or just kept it a secret.
4. A Stapled Note
I’m a firefighter and one of the most recent acts of idiocy I’ve dealt with was a teen pulling the “Waaah my girlfriend dumped me. I’ll crash my car in a lake with a note pinned to me” crap. Now, before you think I’m insensitive read further.
He was headed towards a pond down a hill, swerved towards the lake, overcorrected and hit a tree across the pond then fled on foot not wanting to get in trouble. The local PD caught him half a mile away and the idiot still had the damn note stapled to his shirt.
3. The Naked Chicken Man
I was a volunteer firefighter. One night there was a fire call, and the info that came across the pagers was, “Man on fire Poontang Road.” There was much confusion. The correction came a few minutes later, “Kitchen fire Petang Road.” With that confusion out of the way, we went to the correct address and found a man running around his front yard naked, with some mild grease burns in certain places.
It turns out, he’d decided to put some chicken on the stove, then went and had a shower. What he’d assumed was just steam from the shower turned out to be smoke. A grease fire had started while he was in the shower, and considering he ran straight from the shower to the kitchen, he was buck naked trying to put it out and was splattered with grease. There was only minor damage to the kitchen and his injuries weren’t severe.
2. Fire in The Goat
I volunteered to be a firefighter in our small town. We went out to respond to a call. A weird old lady kept a male goat as a pet inside her home and some room in her home caught on fire.
When the first team entered the front door, they were greeted by a pair of horns, which landed them two meters back, sitting on their butts.
1. Bad Aiming Skills
This is something that happens at every BIG fire. I have A LOT of trouble aiming the deck gun on our tanker at the ‘target.’ Seeing that it creates a large ‘fog’ of water, I can’t actually see where the water stream ends.
So, I have a reputation of ‘taking out’ several groups of firemen, with one sweep of the stream. At a recent barn fire, I knocked a hose team down twice and soaked 20-30 firemen and a ‘whole bunch’ of bystanders.