15 Firefighters Recall the Dumbest Situation They’ve Had to Rescue Someone From

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First responders have tough jobs. They’re running toward fraught situations, are regularly asked to put their lives on the line, and see more heartache and trauma than most of us could handle on our best days.

Which is why they probably love recounting the times when they showed up to an event to find someone had gotten themselves stuck in a hilariously dumb situation. It means they get to laugh about their day, for once.

15. If you want to be dumb, fine, but don’t put your kids in danger.

I’m not a firefighter, but I used to do a lot of disaster response work.
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 fuck off, but 5 minutes later he had the whole family in the vehicle and they got the hell out.

14. Well I never would have thought of that.

I was called to a home to get a pie out of the over 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 over and unable to turn off stove”. Still #1 call in 32 years 🙂

13. This is annoying but also very, very sad.

There was this massive structure fire at a barn in town that drew out nearly every truck in the general area – like 3 towns worth of fire fighters 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 fire fighter….

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 fire fighter 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.

I know she got in major trouble for abusing 911, but from what I hear from the people on both fire and ambulance, she has made a habit of calling for help whenever she feels she’s not getting enough attention.

12. Little Joe had places to go, y’all. Don’t hate.

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 fuck 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 FUCKING 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 smartass 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.


11. You have got to be kidding me.

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.

10. A happy ending for everyone but the snowmobile.

Dumbass tried to cross a raging river in zero degree weather about a 300 foot span on a snowmobile. He lived but didn’t make the crossing and the machine was recovered days later.

9. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

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 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 that at least the semi can back out. We needed another month until the road was free again.

8. The gopher got the last laugh.

Years ago we had this call straight out of Caddy Shack. 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. The gopher sprinted into the guy’s shed 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.

7. Y’all please just wear your seatbelt.

Two I can recall, one specific. The specific one was a young girl around teenage years 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.

The other is general, but it’s people who didn’t wear a seatbelt and the people they killed as a result. You have less control of a vehicle when you’re not being held in place so those wrecks are more common as the first sign of trouble your butt moves in the seat and reduces your ability to control the vehicle. You also become a projectile. If you’re lucky you only kill yourself. If you’re not you wind up bouncing around and killing a passenger. Also the leading cause of partial ejections and reentry to vehicles since nothing was holding them to the seats. So many times I could have just been there cutting someone out of a seat and them being barely beat up but instead they had been scalped and died or hit their kid or spouse or other family member or friend and killed them. One in particular I remember was a large man not wearing a seatbelt in an overturned truck. He woke up while we were working on him cutting the passenger side up to get down to him as the vehicle was on its side driver side down. He kept asking us how his son was. At first we didn’t get it. Then we realized he was laying on his 15-16 year old son and due to the man’s size we didn’t see him. The son was wearing a seatbelt but he died because his father smashed into him and smothered him to death while we worked rather than just wear a seatbelt extender so his seatbelt fit.

Also don’t lie to us about if you wore it. Your seatbelt wont fire the pretensioners if they are not engaged in the slot. They are designed that way. There is a circuit that is completed by the best being clicked in place which is also how your car knows your passengers are wearing a seatbelt or not and sets off that obnoxious alarm. There is also a sensor in the passenger front seat of most modern vehicles to detect the weight of a small person which is why your sodas or pizzas it whatever set off the alarm. Just wear the damn seatbelt and don’t lie. If you were wearing it I won’t be able to pull tons of slack on it when I arrive. Guess what goes in the report as the determining factor your insurance sees as to if you should have your medical covered as a result of an accident? Yup. I don’t know what they do with they information but I have to write it in the report.

Source: State Vehicle Rescue Technician and Firefighter, mostly volunteer at this point.

6. That’s an image you’ll never forget.

Firefighter/Paramedic in suburb of Phx. Had to transport a guy to the ER because he was constipated. His wife tried to dig it out with a wooden spoon. Spoon got stuck and hurt to move it.

Walked in and there’s a 250 lb man, butt naked, lying on his side with a huge wooden spoon stuck halfway up his butt.

5. That seems like a terrible idea.

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.

4. Sleep deprivation leads to poor choices.

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 4 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.

3. What on earth was this man thinking?

I was a Navy Corpsman so this one is probably a bit of a reach but whatevs.

Marine comes to sick call with a seriously beaten up dick. Like, lacerations, bruising. Thing was really fucked up.

Asked him what he did and he insisted that what happened was that he had a surprise boner and it hit his zipped up pants zipper and basically went all garbage disposal on his junk. Dude would not drop this narrative no matter how many times we told him that this just doesn’t happen.

Finally, Doc (the actual MD) comes in and tells him enough of this shit, yada yada write him up for malingering, need the full story.

Dude jammed his wiener into the back of a computer tower. According to him, there was an opening back there (probably because old PC Towers in the Navy routinely had shit swapped out and they didn’t always cover openings when things were removed). So, because he was a fucking donkey, he stuck his finger in it and felt a light tingling sensation as his skin made contact with something electrical.

So he took the next logical step and whipped out his dick and shoved it into the back of this computer. What he did not account for was that the opening had sharp metal edges. But once inside, he got that tingling feeling and so he felt like he might as well finish the job before he pulled out. Plus, and this is where I had to stop myself from laughing, he felt it was “smarter” to pull himself out flacid rather than hard. -taps forehead-

This was not a young man. This was not a man without rank.

EDIT: I wear this gold and silver as badges of shame for the shit I’ve seen.

2. That should be a scene in the Something About Mary sequel.

It wasn’t really his fault, but we had an old guy in a nursing home get his balls stuck in a shower chair.

1. That is some Office Space-level tomfoolery.

My dad worked for IBM’s AS/400 (A mainframe system) tech support division for over 10 years (1992 to 2003). A customer called in because he needed to run a report and send it out to the networked printer. For whatever reason, the report was failing to generate and the guy on the phone was freaking out because some corporate big-wig demand that this report be printed and on his desk by 3pm.
Just another day at work.

About 10 minutes into the call my dad starts to hear this strange high pitched noise in the background.

Dad, “Uhh, if you don’t mind my asking, what’s that noise it the background?”

Caller, “Oh, that’s the fire alarm.”

“Fire alarm?”

“Yeah, the building is on fire.”

“Far be it from me to tell you what to do, but shouldn’t you get out of there?”

“Dan… you don’t understand. I HAVE to get this report printed, now are you going to help me or not?”

So they continue to troubleshoot the issue. A few minutes after that my dad hears shouting in the background.

Dad, “Umm, there seems to be a lot of yelling in the background, is everything OK?”

Caller, “Yeah, it’s fine. It’s just the firefighters evacuating the building.”

“Shouldn’t you get out of there too?”

“Dan I absolutely HAVE to get this report printed are you going to help me?”

“I’m not sure that I should.”

“We pay our support contract. I have to get this printed and you have to help me! It’s almost 3pm!”

“It’s just a report I don’t think it’s worth risking your life.”

The caller starts to get furious when the shouting in the background gets much louder. A firefighter has come over to the guy on the phone and starts barking orders at him to get out of the building. The caller tells the firefighter “Look, I have to print this report before 3p and I can’t leave until it’s printed.” Over the phone dad hears the firefighter scream, “I don’t give a damn about your goddamned report the building is on fire! Now MOVE!”

There’s a scuffling noise and the phone handset on the other end drops to the ground as the firefighter physically drags the caller away. After that, all dad could hear was the sound of the fire alarm and various crackling noises.

Needless to say, the report did not get printed by 3pm.

Now I’m laughing, too, so it’s all worth it!

Do you know someone who works in a job like this? Do they have great stories? Let us know below!