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Heroes
July 21, 2009 10:04 PM   Subscribe

This is a firsthand and frantic video of a group of people coming together to rescue a mother and two children who were trapped in an overturned and burning SUV.
posted by SpacemanStix (73 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
So it is.
posted by turgid dahlia at 10:16 PM on July 21, 2009


Cars burn hot, hot, hot. I can just imagine how tough it was to reach into the backseat, getting a first & or second degree burn to pull that last kid out.
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:20 PM on July 21, 2009


"Anyone got a knife?"

Yeah, yeah I usually do. I just can't hand it to you back in time through the internet. :(
posted by loquacious at 10:42 PM on July 21, 2009


Youtube (same CNN video minus the Suzuki ad).
posted by pracowity at 10:42 PM on July 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Before I click on the link... does everyone make it out okay?
posted by ohyouknow at 10:43 PM on July 21, 2009


Pardon me for not being cynical, but I think that was great.
Thank you for sharing it.
posted by SLC Mom at 10:45 PM on July 21, 2009 [4 favorites]


Ohyouknow -- everybody survived. That does not stop this from being harrowing though.
posted by OolooKitty at 10:46 PM on July 21, 2009


All those houses around, and so many neighbors (according to the article) who came running to help, and nobody had a fire extinguisher?

Glad everyone got out okay, anyway.
posted by rtha at 10:48 PM on July 21, 2009


ffffuck. I'm happy that everyone got out ok, but that ain't anything I want to see.
posted by boo_radley at 10:49 PM on July 21, 2009


They misspelled Jeffrey Lebowski.

j/k, awesome video. It really hurt to watch it, it took so long. Hope the kids is going to be okay.
posted by Xoebe at 10:50 PM on July 21, 2009


God bless those people. We all want to think we would be as brave and level-headed in a situation like that.
posted by LarryC at 11:03 PM on July 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Faith in humanity restored.

Wow. Just amazing. Thanks.
posted by vertigo25 at 11:15 PM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


That was wild. People kept yelling "it's gonna blow" and then you wait for it. Those off-duty firefighters stuck it out and grabbed the kids.

Heroes, man, heroes
posted by P.o.B. at 11:27 PM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Jesus H. Christ, there are not enough warnings for watching that video.
posted by saturnine at 11:29 PM on July 21, 2009


Damn.
posted by lalochezia at 11:33 PM on July 21, 2009


There's the definition of hero right there.
posted by milnak at 11:37 PM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


The two small explosions you hear are tires, btw.

Local coverage from the Journal Sentinel:
* Birthday request puts firefighters at right place, right time
* Boy rescued from burning SUV will need months of treatment

and nobody had a fire extinguisher?

The cop that showed up had two.

This is a positive story to have coming on the heels of two jackasses sending up flares that destroyed a $50 million sausage plant and considerably dampened local livelihoods amid a bad recession.
posted by dhartung at 11:47 PM on July 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


The video isn't working for me. The flash player just says "undefined" on a gray background. Is this hosted anywhere else?
posted by arcolz at 11:47 PM on July 21, 2009


Wow.
posted by painquale at 11:56 PM on July 21, 2009


Out. Freaking. Standing.

An archetypal example of the best of humanity in the face of a horrific crisis.

People are so awesome sometimes.
posted by darkstar at 12:01 AM on July 22, 2009


It's a great story, but I'm kind of repelled at the idea of videoing this. Either help or keep out of the way. Rubbernecking is icky even if you have a camera. Did not watch.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:15 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


EVERYONE DID NOT GET OUT OKAY.

the little boy "is in critical condition with burns over 30 percent of his body."
that is not even remotely okay.
posted by philip-random at 12:21 AM on July 22, 2009


that is not even remotely okay.

I'm pretty sure it beats "dead."
posted by mightygodking at 12:28 AM on July 22, 2009 [8 favorites]


In the long run, yes.
posted by pracowity at 12:54 AM on July 22, 2009


"I'm kind of repelled at the idea of videoing this. Either help or keep out of the way."

The guy taping does seem to be staying out of the way.

loquacious: ""Anyone got a knife?""

Seat belt mechanisms jam in accidents all the time. Scenes like this are a part of the reason I carry a knife everywhere. Admittedly a small part but not negligible. It is so sad that we have demonized the carrying of knives in the US and Canada. 50 years ago practically every guy there would have had at least a small folding pocket knife. Now you can't carry them to school or many job sites, on a plane or even on Greyhound[pdf] so it's become a hassle.
posted by Mitheral at 1:03 AM on July 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


Intense. In every way.
posted by Happy Dave at 1:09 AM on July 22, 2009


Wow. They were incredibly fortunate to have had two off-duty firemen and an off-duty police office (who happened to have fire extinguishers handy) in the vicinity.

EVERYONE DID NOT GET OUT OKAY.

That's a really misplaced sense of outrage, considering his life was just saved.
posted by Lush at 1:13 AM on July 22, 2009


i think i'm gonna go buy a swiss army knife tomorrow.
though, you just can't buy the strength of will those guys needed to face down fear and go right into that excruciating heat.
truly, heroes.
posted by lapolla at 1:24 AM on July 22, 2009


"In critical condition with 30% burns" > Dead
posted by WalterMitty at 1:25 AM on July 22, 2009


Now you can't carry them to school or many job sites, on a plane or even on Greyhound[pdf] so it's become a hassle.

Sometimes a knife might save a life, but other times people lose their heads. I guess they figure less blood will be spilled if they discourage people in general from carrying slicers and stabbers everywhere.
posted by pracowity at 1:49 AM on July 22, 2009


wow.
posted by krautland at 2:09 AM on July 22, 2009


This is why every vehicle needs to be equipped with a LifeHammer and a fire extinguisher.

That said, after watching the video I [bleep] agree with every [bleep] person in this [bleep] thread who called those [bleep] people heroes.
posted by bwg at 2:22 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]



Seat belt mechanisms jam in accidents all the time. Scenes like this are a part of the reason I carry a knife everywhere. Admittedly a small part but not negligible. It is so sad that we have demonized the carrying of knives in the US and Canada. 50 years ago practically every guy there would have had at least a small folding pocket knife. Now you can't carry them to school or many job sites, on a plane or even on Greyhound[pdf] so it's become a hassle.


A) What an interesting point

and

B) I now have something new to carry around in my bag of random fears


One of my pet peeves about Volkswagens, and there are many*, is that the locks on the doors are flush with the door when locked. How the hell do you get out of there when you're freaking out and the car's on fire and the driver passed out? What do you do when the electrical system fails? You should always be able to manually override somehow. And oh, God, power windows.

*Yes what a lovely cockpit-like array of lights on the dashboard and most certainly yes! I would like to pay to have you fix the cup holder. And maybe later the glove compartment. And see if you can figure out what's up with the check engine light. No, no, of course I'll buy another one! I would love to! /shameless venting derail about Volkswagens and llamas who love them.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:25 AM on July 22, 2009


I'm too frightened to click on that video by the way. Is that a video of a child being burned over 30% of his body???
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:27 AM on July 22, 2009


"How the hell do you get out of there when you're freaking out and the car's on fire and the driver passed out?"

You pull on the door handle. Every car I've been in that also unlocks the door as long as you're not sitting in a seat protected by child safety handles.
posted by Mitheral at 3:00 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


but other times people lose their heads.
Mr Li, from Edmonton, Alberta, was holding his victim's head in one hand and a Rambo-style hunting blade in the other. He then lifted up the severed head in an apparent attempt to "taunt" onlookers.

A passenger, Garnet Caton, told reporters that the victim had been sleeping with headphones on when a man in the next seat began stabbing him repeatedly. The two men appeared to be complete strangers and had not previously exchanged words during the journey.
WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK, CANADA!?!

Also, good job firefighters.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:17 AM on July 22, 2009


Every car I've been in that also unlocks the door as long as you're not sitting in a seat protected by child safety handles.

In the US, a lot of cars have a little lever on the side of the rear doors (only visible when opened) that you can flick up or down depending on whether you want the rear handles to open the door.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:18 AM on July 22, 2009


Every car I've been in that also unlocks the door as long as you're not sitting in a seat protected by child safety handles.

Let's never speak of this again.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:09 AM on July 22, 2009


Yay Firefighters, yay people!
Good stuff, thanks.
posted by rahnefan at 4:21 AM on July 22, 2009


At one point in the video, someone starts shouting "it's gonna blow", and all the potential rescuers back away. Can we hold Michael Bay responsible for jeopardizing that kid's life by making people think cars are prone to exploding?
posted by idiopath at 4:35 AM on July 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


Just a note: I always buy a fire extinguisher as a house/apartment warming (ha) gift. It's just something most people don't ever think of buying for themselves, and it's a no-brainer when you have to provide said gift.
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 4:52 AM on July 22, 2009 [6 favorites]


Kudos to the guys that saved the kids. I can't help but wonder what I would do in the same situation, but hope that I'd do the same thing.

One has to wonder how and why the vehicle turned over. Lots of reasons come to mind, unfortunately I can't help but think of anything that makes putting children's lives in danger worth it.

@Mitheral - I've never had a seatbelt jam. Had one that wouldn't return properly and so I took it into a dealer. That's one of those things on a car that's covered by a lifetime warranty. As for keeping a knife in my pocket, I'd not be able to get it out if I was wearing a seatbelt that jammed - and I'd not be able to reach my glovebox (or trunk) to get any other tool.
posted by Man with Lantern at 4:52 AM on July 22, 2009


Woah.

I'm going to make sure I know where all my fire extinguishers and knives are when I get home, that's for sure.
posted by Skorgu at 5:07 AM on July 22, 2009


Can we hold Michael Bay responsible for jeopardizing that kid's life by making people think cars are prone to exploding?

I don't know about jeopardizing anyone's life, but cars have been exploding in the movies for years and years, and exploding Ford Pintos were in the news in the 1970s, when that Bay guy (thanks, Wikipedia) was still a little kid. I knew a large family whose station wagon was involved in a minor low-speed collision back then. From the back of the car, one of the boys (now big in county-scale Republican politics, by the way) yelled "It's gonna explode!" and they all piled out and ran.
posted by pracowity at 5:43 AM on July 22, 2009


Would a pocket knife even be able to cut through the thick nylon or whatever they use in modern seat belts?
posted by canine epigram at 6:20 AM on July 22, 2009


pracowity: perhaps my humor was a bit on the dry side there, sorry

canine epigram: somebody sells a special purpose seatbelt slicer / window smasher, I don't recall the brand or the name of the device though.
posted by idiopath at 6:21 AM on July 22, 2009


MetaFoxNews
posted by ActingTheGoat at 6:28 AM on July 22, 2009


Jeez. I gotta start reading my hometown news again. I was a half-mile from here and didn't know it was going on.
posted by desjardins at 6:53 AM on July 22, 2009


idiopath: somebody sells a special purpose seatbelt slicer / window smasher, I don't recall the brand or the name of the device though.

LifeHammer, bwg posted it upthread .
posted by djeo at 7:56 AM on July 22, 2009


Quite a video. I just picked one of these up at LL Bean. Hopefully I'll never need to use it for anything more than cutting the plastic twine wrapped around stacks of The New Yorker on the sidewalks out for recycling.
posted by JBennett at 8:00 AM on July 22, 2009


Also from one of dhartung's Journal Sentinel links:
"A neighbor woman had pulled a hose across Layton Ave., which also proved critical.

'As soon as we pulled him out, we were able to cool him off,' Joel said of the boy. 'That prevented the burns from being worse.'"
posted by ericb at 8:23 AM on July 22, 2009


Was anyone else moved to tears when they pulled him out? Or is it just because I have a three year old son?
posted by nonmyopicdave at 8:28 AM on July 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


EVERYONE DID NOT GET OUT OKAY.

That's a really misplaced sense of outrage, considering his life was just saved.


The outrage was in no way directed at the rescuers (all apologies if that's how it was interpreted).

I was concerned about how the discussion here was building, specifically, the sense of relief that was setting in. I know enough about medical terminology and burns in general to know that "critical condition" and "burns over 30 percent of his body" is very far from okay, and at the very least means that the poor kid is in for a long, slow, painful recovery. If he recovers. He could very well die.
posted by philip-random at 8:34 AM on July 22, 2009


Was anyone else moved to tears when they pulled him out?

I was, and I never cry at stuff. I do have a three year old daughter as well, and I'm sure that played a part of it.

Also, it's just such a blatant act of heroism, which we don't get to see first hand that often.

The good video quality helped heighten the emotion for me, as it felt more like experiencing it first hand, and not the "one step removed" that you get from watching grainy or poorly shot videos.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:42 AM on July 22, 2009



EVERYONE DID NOT GET OUT OKAY.

the little boy "is in critical condition with burns over 30 percent of his body."
that is not even remotely okay.


Someone asked if everyone got out okay. I responded that everybody survived. No one stated that "everyone got out okay", so you're responding to a question, not the answer.
posted by OolooKitty at 8:43 AM on July 22, 2009


"Would a pocket knife even be able to cut through the thick nylon or whatever they use in modern seat belts?"

If it's got any kind of edge on it it'll cut a belt no problem.

"I've never had a seatbelt jam. Had one that wouldn't return properly and so I took it into a dealer. That's one of those things on a car that's covered by a lifetime warranty. As for keeping a knife in my pocket, I'd not be able to get it out if I was wearing a seatbelt that jammed - and I'd not be able to reach my glovebox (or trunk) to get any other tool."

Yes, it's only of concern in a crash. I wasn't thinking so much of cutting my self out (though my knife in on a belt sheath so accessible even when constrained by a seat belt) but rather when one in on scene at an accident. Moving a person that has been in a car crash is a job best left to EMTs but sometimes you need to get them out without waiting.
posted by Mitheral at 9:01 AM on July 22, 2009


Someone asked if everyone got out okay. I responded that everybody survived. No one stated that "everyone got out okay", so you're responding to a question, not the answer.

It wasn't your answer I was responding to. It was how I felt it was being interpreted. And, for the record, I wasn't feeling outraged. More like a reporter who could see that a key detail of a story wasn't getting through to people, so I put it in the headline.
posted by philip-random at 9:29 AM on July 22, 2009


"Anyone got a knife?"

Always and constantly. It is literally the first thing I put in my pocket every morning.

Mainly because it's useful for opening food and mail, but yeah, also because of the unlikely eventuality that I might one day have to pass it to an off-duty firefighter who is trying to pull a child from a burning car.

I don't know why it freaks so many people out, knives are about one of the oldest tools man has, but seeing them still causes anxiety. As a result, despite the fact that I can easily open mine very quickly with one hand, I alway make a point of doing it slowly with two whenever I have to use it in public. For some reason people find this less frightening.
posted by quin at 9:50 AM on July 22, 2009


...Or the person in Massachusetts who was eaten by an escalator in February:
http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/03/09/watching_helplessly_as_a_life_slips_away/ (Warning: really awful story.)

A witness said Jackson could have been saved if someone had scissors or a knife and could free her. I have my beloved Benchmade in my pocket everywhere but the airport for a lot of reasons, and this just got added to the list.
posted by wenestvedt at 10:05 AM on July 22, 2009


That greyhound head chopping thing drives me nuts. I so wish the perpetrator had stabbed the guy in the jugular with a bic pen instead. It's led to a crazy amount of "We've got to ban knives because, OMG, someone sawed a guy's head off on a bus and I've taken the bus before. It could have been me!!!"

Of course if it happened that way practically no one would of heard of it I guess. Greyhound still allows knitting needles though so despite looking like mini spears I guess those aren't dangerous.
posted by Mitheral at 10:11 AM on July 22, 2009


I"ve carried a knife everyday of my life since I was about 8 years old. I would walk out of my house naked holding the damn thing in my hand before I would leave without it...

and, good for all of those involved in helping in this tragic event... there ARE good people in this world...
posted by HuronBob at 11:28 AM on July 22, 2009


Went to PDX last week for the 10th anniversary meetup, and since we were going to be driving around Oregon for the better part of a week beforehand I wanted to bring my knives (lockback and Swiss army) so I checked a bag for the first time in a decade. Which United managed to lose, somehow, between SFO and PDX, and which did not reappear until five days into our trip. I felt kind of naked without a knife in my pocket, yes. The lockback is a good knife, opens easily with one hand, has a blade that's partially serrated and would be good for sawing through a seatbelt (or almost anything else). It is a good tool and I hate being without one.
posted by rtha at 11:38 AM on July 22, 2009



Couldn't someone have used their cell phone to report a pedophile terrorist in the neighborhood? The police and army would have arrived in less than 30 seconds.
posted by notreally at 11:42 AM on July 22, 2009


Couldn't someone have used their cell phone to report a pedophile terrorist in the neighborhood? The police and army would have arrived in less than 30 seconds.
posted by notreally


Asked and answered.
posted by Lush at 12:21 PM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


keep a boxcutter or pocketknife in the car, along with a cheap Automatic center punch, which will blow out glass that isn't laminated (anything not the windshield/windscreen)

and yeah, I carry a knife everywhere too, and I use it all the time.
posted by exlotuseater at 12:53 PM on July 22, 2009


(and I speak from experience, having extricated myself from a badly-damaged and on fire Saturn SC-2)
posted by exlotuseater at 1:17 PM on July 22, 2009


I'm too frightened to click on that video by the way. Is that a video of a child being burned over 30% of his body???
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:27 AM on July 22 [+] [!]


It's a video of a kid being saved from getting burned over 100% of his body.

Poignant Update.
MILWAUKEE -- David "DJ" Harper, the 4-year-old boy rescued from a burning van at 22nd Street and Layton Avenue last Sunday, remains in serious but stable condition. He faces burns over 20 percent of his body.

Brief and surprising (for me anyway) article detailing a burn survival likelihood study that shows chances of survival from a major burn incident are much better than I thought.
posted by vapidave at 11:26 PM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thank to the OP and those who mentioned LifeHammer upthread, I just bought a full-size one and a keychain version, just to have one in the car and one on me at all times. Peace of mind... sometimes it comes pretty cheaply!
posted by Never teh Bride at 8:32 AM on July 23, 2009


I, duly freaked out as well, bought this.

And my thanks also.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 10:47 AM on July 23, 2009


Hello knife carriers. My dislike of flying is almost solely due to airlines confiscating my beloved Spartan lite ruby!
posted by mouthnoize at 11:29 AM on July 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


person in Massachusetts who was eaten by an escalator

Wait. My biggest, only irrational fear can actually COME TRUE?

oh fuck, oh fuck I shouldn't read that story, should I?
posted by threeturtles at 1:33 PM on July 23, 2009 [1 favorite]



oh fuck, oh fuck I shouldn't read that story, should I?


No! You shouldn't.

But you should go buy a knife for your key chain!
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:17 AM on July 24, 2009


Buy some EMT shears and keep them in your glovebox or console. Or go all out and get the fancy version with kitchen sink attachment. You can't cut yourself with them, they're dirt cheap and generally recognizable as not a knife/threat.
posted by Skorgu at 5:55 AM on July 24, 2009


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