September 18, 2019 | Casey Pino

Firefighters Share The Dumbest Person They Had To Save In A Stupid Situation


Firefighters have an incredibly difficult job. Not only is their line of work risky and very physically-demanding, but they also have to put up with all sorts of ridiculousness from people who just aren't thinking straight. Firefighters from around the world took to the internet to share their personal experiences of when they had to save someone in a stupid situation. In the majority of the stories, the problems were caused by the very people they had to save, which makes them all the more annoying. At the very least, we can safely say that firefighters never have a dull moment! Read on for your own entertainment:

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Don't forget to check the comment section below the article for more interesting stories!

#1 Embarrassing Childhood Moment

Austin, Texas, circa 1990. A little girl needed to use the toilet. She locked the door, managed to get onto the toilet and use it all by herself. She's a big girl after all! But, the toilet is tall and getting down is scary. Better wait for mom to come help. Except, she can't get in, because the little idiot locked the door and was too scared of the five inches from her feet to the floor. So she just sat there crying while sitting on the toilet. The firemen broke down the door and the little girl was saved. God damn, I was a stupid kid.

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#2 Stuck In The Shower

I spent the night once with my aunt and uncle. My uncle was a firefighter (he recently passed away). I took a shower and couldn’t get the door unlocked (it was an older house), so my firefighter uncle had to take the door off the hinges to get me out. I was about eight years old at the time.  I miss him! He was my favorite uncle.

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#3 A Simple Fix

A motorist had a bad alternator and the car gave out while she 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 would not survive the first 24 hours of the zombie apocalypse.

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#4 Wrong Call

I got called to a lockout. I got to the location and the person said, "We just need a jump start." I think, okay, I'm on the wrong call. I got the cables and asked them to pop the hood... "Oh, we can't. We're locked out." The driver was holding keys in hand. The passenger window was down. I started backing away assuming some kind of theft scam. They actually thought they were locked out because the key fob wasn't unlocking the door. It turns out the fob battery had died. The vehicle battery was not dead.

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#5 Just Floating On

Two bikini-clad girls had to be rescued from a swift-moving river in a canoe. Neither girl brought a life vest or a PADDLE. They thought the river flowed in a circle.

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#6

My dad worked for IBM's tech support division for over 10 years. 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 of some corporate big-wig demand that this report had to be printed and on his desk by 3 p.m. Just another day at work.

About 10 minutes into the call, my dad started 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 continued to troubleshoot the issue. A few minutes after that, my dad heard shouting in the background.

Dad, "Umm, there seems to be a lot of yelling in the background, is everything okay?"

The caller replied, "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 3 p.m."

"It's just a report. I don't think it's worth risking your life."

The caller started to get furious when the shouting in the background got much louder. A firefighter had come over to the guy on the phone and started barking orders at him to get out of the building. The caller told the firefighter, "Look, I have to print this report before 3 p.m. and I can't leave until it's printed." Over the phone, my dad heard the firefighter scream, "I don't give a heck about your report, the building is on fire! MOVE!"

There was a scuffling noise as the firefighter physically dragged 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 3 p.m.

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#7 Recliner Dangers

Former Fire and Rescue firefighter here. I have helped release several dogs and children stuck in the mechanism part of a recliner chair. In fairness, a lot of people are paranoid about their pets getting caught up in the recliner mechanisms. My friend has a couch that reclines on both ends and a La-Z-boy as well. Her cat stays under the couch a lot, so I always check before I close them. I'm always afraid I'm going to decapitate her.

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#8 Fiery Antics

I was a volunteer firefighter many years back. One summer, after a long period of no rain, two good old boys decided to have a few drinks and take their Jeep into a nearby field to go off-roading. Well, two-foot-tall corn stalks that were bone-dry wind-up ended up getting jammed in the undercarriage of their Jeep, which, on a 90-degree day, turns out to be hot enough to ignite a fire. The owner of the field saw the situation unfolding from their house and called for fire and police.

Given the proximity to my location, I went directly to the scene. I saw these two jerks trying to drive the Jeep faster and faster to put the fire out. Eventually, the engine gave out, but they wouldn’t leave the car. I physically had to reach-in, burning my arms in the process (since I didn’t respond to the station first to get my turnout gear), and pull them out.

For some reason, they decided that remaining in the car would slow down the flames. And because they thought it was a good idea to continue driving a burning vehicle around a dry field, we had a significant brush fire to deal with. We had to call mutual aid from another county to help douse the fire. State Police get involved. I had a nice trip to the hospital and the jerks lost their Jeep.

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#9 Bathtub Drama

We got a call about a little kid stuck in a bathtub. Nobody could make heads or tails of how a child can get physically stuck in a bathtub, so we rocked up in one of our engines and had a look. What had happened was that the child, almost three years old, had been left in the bath to play while it drained. The drain had a screwed-down sieve in it, with five holes. Kiddo had five fingers and must have thought it a good idea to jam them into said holes. Of course, they swelled up and got stuck. So now we had a kid attached to a bathtub drain, and no way to get at the screw holding him there.

We filled the tub back up a bit, enough so that the kiddo's hand was covered in water for cooling. We gave him the plushie (with instructions to make sure it doesn't get wet), earplugs and a real-life fireman's helmet. Then, we made four quick cuts around the drain hole, bashed in the tiles, and finally another cut through the drain.

We then transported the boy-tub hybrid to the hospital. The fingers had become quite blue and we didn't want to induce tourniquet removal syndrome without access to proper medical care. The little guy joined the youth fire department as soon as he was old enough. We must have left a good impression.

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#10 Not My Responsibility

Not me, but my dad was a firefighter in NYC. He once responded to a call at a Chinese food restaurant where the owner's walkway was iced over. He apparently didn't speak very good English and maybe misunderstood the job of a fireman. They salted down his front walkway for him and explained that this was not their responsibility. They all had a good laugh and the guy gave them all free eggrolls. People always used to ask him questions about crazy calls and he never enjoyed talking about that so he would always tell that story. It happened in '99 still makes me laugh to this day 20 years later.

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#11 Penguin Problems

I had a tipsy guy in Antarctica chase a penguin. He had no motive other than to get up close and personal with it. The penguin stuck his beak through the offending tipsy guy's calf. He got sent home, and a report on international treaty breach wound up on some congress member's desk. Oh McMurdo, how I miss thee.

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#12 Not For Teens

A young girl in her teenage years decided those toddler swings with the seats where you stick your legs were made for a teenage girl like her. 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. It was basically turning into a tourniquet on both of her legs.

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#13 Little Joe

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 got 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, the kid gets scared, the parents panic and call 911. So they hopped in the truck and rode on over. It was one of those kinds of foggy early fall mornings as they walked into the zoo. My dad noticed a man sitting on a bench holding a little girl in his arms. Assuming this is what the call is for, he walked over to the man. The little girl had a scrape on her forehead and she was crying, but otherwise fine. The man looked like he just saw a ghost. So my dad asked the guy what was going on.

The man says, “Little Joe is out.”

My dad asks, “What does that mean?”

“Little Joe is out."

“Who the heck is Little Joe?!”

Little Joe is a 500-pound adolescent male silverback gorilla. Loose in the streets of Boston. It was right about then that my dad realized that he was not exactly qualified to handle a gorilla. He didn’t know who to call, so he called everyone. Two minutes later, the fire chief showed up, not knowing what the call was about yet. He jumped out of his car saying, “Mark, Mark, is this about a freaking gorilla?!”

My dad says, “Yeah, but how’d you hear that?”

The chief replied, “He’s standing at the bus stop on Seaver Street!”

The SWAT team showed up, hats on backward, M16s in hand and my dad, being the smartass he is, looked at the sergeant and said, “Hey, I don’t think that 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.

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#14 Yellow And Orange Identifiers

Hurricane Floyd. Eastern NC. I had a farmer with a large family that refused to evacuate his house. Stubborn bastard. The river had broken 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 screw off, but five minutes later he had the whole family in the vehicle and they got the heck out.

#15 Tree Deterrents

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 too 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 about 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 could back out. We needed another month until the road was free again.

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#16 A Fleur de Lis Accident

I remember asking a firefighter about this once. A guy who had been getting intimate with another man's wife. Her husband came home, so he jumped out the second story window buck naked and impaled himself through the upper leg on a fence paling. It was one of those fleur de lis ones, so it messed up his leg pretty badly. They had to cut the paling out of the fence and load him into an ambulance.

#17 The Vietnam Strategy

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 it passed away. 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.

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#18 Retrieve The Snowmobile

A stupid man 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. In Maine, you are required to get your snowmobile out if you sink it in a lake. They don't want those things leaking and polluting. Every year, you hear about some guy having to hire a diver and such.

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#19 Is This The Family Fang?

I once had a firefighter tell me he almost passed away 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 a video of the whole event.

The fire started because the owner had tried to smother his barbecue cooker flame with leftover wood from the siding that had been installed on his home. The owner did not realize it would burn. Burned his whole house down.

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#20 That's Not A Pool

The fire department and the paramedics had to come to my work one day because some kid didn’t know the difference between a swimming pool and a splash pad... There’s this artificial waterfall that goes down into a basin that’s only about two inches deep. The kid decided to climb up the waterfall (there are multiple signs posted not to do this) and dive off into the water below. Luckily, the kid landed flat on his face so he survived and avoided being paralyzed. He was, however, knocked out cold immediately. His mother heard the splat and came running over screaming and pulled him out.

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#21 A False Alarm, But Not Really

My cat got her paw stuck under the dishwasher, and was screaming bloody murder. I couldn't move her paw, nor could I lift the machine, so I sat with her while my husband called the fire department. She chewed right through one of my favorite blankets in her stress. The firefighters arrived, not in full suits but in heavy boots and pants.

As soon as they came around the corner to the kitchen, our cat miraculously was able to free her paw and take off to hide in the bathroom. The guys seemed confused, but at least it was easy? We thanked them profusely for being scary enough to free our cat, who had zero physical damage (not even a broken claw). I guess she'd hooked her claws on something and didn't want to let it go for love or money.

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#22 Chubby Leg

This happened to my son when he was six years old. He was at a Cub Scout meeting which was next door to the fire station. The firefighters had these racks where they'd lay their hoses out to dry. The little scouts were climbing on those racks one day and my son's chubby leg slipped between the bars and got stuck. The firefighters had to use the Jaws of Life on their own dang racks to free my kid.

#23 The Epitome Of Lazy

My dad and I are both firefighters. He said one time he went to a house because an elderly man could not get out of the leather recliner. He had been sitting in it for a week straight and his wife would just serve him drinks and food so he wouldn't have to get up. He would just get tipsy and do his business on himself until he was physically stuck to the chair and they had to cut him out.

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#24 A Mysterious Buzzing

I heard this story from a friend. An emergency call comes in for a miscellaneous electrical hazard. The chief walks in and a woman tells him that the TV in the bedroom is making a weird noise. It's turned off but there's a low buzzing sound coming from the area. The chief unplugs the TV (which she didn't think to do) and the noise doesn't stop. The TV is sitting on top of a chest of drawers so he opens up the top drawer and finds a nose hair trimmer just buzzing away. False alarm.

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#25 Always Wear A Harness

My uncle used to be a firefighter. He told me a story about a person he was training to become part of the team. The person didn’t follow protocol regarding belts that they had to fasten around their bodies. When the person was performing a drill that involved getting suspended in-air, a loose part of the belt caught his sensitive area as he was mid-air, with all his weight crushing it. My uncle got him out of there and he had to go to the hospital.

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#26 A Pie In A Stove

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 oven and unable to turn off the stove." Still my favorite call in 32 years.

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#27 A Boring Case

We’ve done “public service” calls at my department. We once went out on a call to look for some lady’s old dog that had wandered into the woods in the winter. We have this really cool device called a Thermal Imaging Camera that can detect even the slightest difference in heat. We were able to follow the footprints of the dog to find her. We’re stationed in a small town and don’t really have much else to do in the winter.

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#28 Second Act

My dad was a firefighter in Los Angeles and was doing ember checks for a building fire that they just put out. A stray cat walked into the building as if nothing happened. So my dad, being the joker he is, saw the cat and the news crews standing outside the building. He quickly picked up the cat, threw a little soot on it, and ran out the building like he just saved it, in front of all of the world to see.

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#29 Heavy Cargo

When I was a volunteer, we had to carry a woman inside the house. She passed out in her yard on a mattress after celebrating her weight loss success. She was about 400 pounds and all dead weight. It came in as a medical call, so only two people responded. In the end, it took about five of us to successfully get it done.

#30 Bathtub Pig Roast

Not me, but my brother-in-law used to be a fireman in NYC. His worst story involved a bunch of people who didn't speak a word of English. They decided to have a pig roast... in an apartment building... in the bathtub. Naturally, the bathtub heated up the walls sufficiently that they started a roaring blaze. He said when he got there, they were more interested in them saving the pig than putting out the fire.

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#31 A Criminal's Plan Backfires

I had a fellow who was running from the police. He decided to climb on board a chunk of ice that was flowing down the river. I am sure he thought he was a genius at the time, but the issue is that there isn't really a whole lot north of our town for a few hundred miles, so his long-term planning wasn't great. Eventually, we found him hiding in a small icy overhang on the side of the river suffering from hypothermia. After a brief stay in the hospital, he ended up being arrested.

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#32 Crying Wolf

My dad worked at a fire station as a medic and he has a couple of stories: Once, an older lady called because she had been hit in the head with an orange. Another time, they got called to an old barn at 2 a.m. and a guy dressed in all black came running around the corner. When he caught his breath, he said: “I think I broke my leg!” It seems like firefighters never have a dull moment.

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#33 "School Girl" Role-Play

Not a firefighter, but my sister had to be rescued by one when she was playing "I'm a schoolgirl, get me out of here" and got herself stuck in a school locker in a contorted position. They had to literally cut her out.

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#34 Moderation Is Key

Not a firefighter, but my uncle is. We live in Arizona where it easily gets above 115 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer. People try to hike our mountains... without water... So you see where that goes. On the other side of the spectrum, I know a doctor from AZ who once had a woman show up at ER presenting with symptoms similar to dehydration, but she had been drinking plenty of water. In fact, it was over-hydration—she was so worried about dehydration that she drank a lot of water on her hike and had not eaten anything.

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#35 Big Man, Small Swing

I once had to call the fire department to come and cut a teenager out of a baby swing in one of our parks. He tried to fit in the swing, and being an almost full-grown adult he, of course, got stuck. They had to use giant clippers to get him out. The parks department charged his parents for the swing and the fire department charged them for a non-emergency rescue.

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#36 Locked In A Locker

Costco company policy now requires that all safes and cabinets be locked on the display floor because of one little genius in my hometown who locked himself in. None of the employees had the key or combination, and apparently, 911 is faster than a locksmith... We cut the hinges off with a circular saw. It scared the heck out of the kid, but he was fine. It was Saturday, so we snagged a few free samples on the way out. All in all a good day! We rescued another kid out of a stuffed animal game at the fair once too. The kid climbed up through the trap door trying to reach the toys and got stuck. That was a fun one.

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#37 Bad Decision

Current volunteer firefighter here. Had to pull a kid from his car after he wrecked it into a tree. The kid was so tipsy out of his mind that he didn't even realize he was in a car accident. He kept asking us and the EMTs to "let him back in his car so he could just drive home." The police were involved shortly after the incident.

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#38 Tripping Out

I went on a ride with my brother who’s a firefighter. We went down the block to the neighborhood car show and block party, which was pretty cool. They got a medical call and had to roll. I sat in the truck while they and the paramedics took care of it. They came back, all shaking their heads. She’d taken something and it made her "feel funny." They got called back about 3 a.m. for the same reason.

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#39 The People Of McDonald's

Not a firefighter, but I worked at McDonald’s back in high school. One time, this older guy went into the bathroom and somehow locked himself in. Cops and fire department started rolling in and they couldn’t get the door open; not even with an ax. So finally, one of them came in with a ladder and I watched them have an argument over who got to climb through the roof. Eventually, the skinnier one climbed through the ceiling panels, dropped into the bathroom, and unlocked the door for him. It was pure insanity and I loved every second of it. I’ve got a picture of the guy halfway into the ceiling buried in my Google Photos somewhere.

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#40 Dot It For The Instagram

Former firefighter and EMT. Easily the dumbest person I encountered was a mother of four who decided it would be an awesome idea to get an Instagram picture of her kids (all under age 10) sitting in a rowboat. The 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 four 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 and a little tired. The mom was in full-blown panic mode and kept getting in our way. I hope she's making better choices now.

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#41 Clout Chaser

My friend’s former roommate was a firefighter. I describe him like this because he’s actually a total dick, but he’s still a firefighter, so he saves lives. Anyway, I was over at their place one day, and firefighter Dave (not his real name) came home looking exhausted. We could smell the smoke on him, so we knew he had seen some action that day.

We asked him about it and he just got this really sad, but humored look in his eye. An Instagram model set her apartment building on fire by filling her room with candles for some photoshoot where she pretended to be doing yoga. But she saw a spider sitting on one of the candles... So she sprayed some Raid at it.

The room pretty much ignited extremely quickly and, in her fear, she threw the bottle of Raid at the fire, then hid in her shower across the hall. She was still in the apartment when Dave kicked in the door and carried her out, her apartment engulfed in flames. She was close to passing out from smoke inhalation, so Dave had to cradle her in his arms. As he carried her to the window to be lowered on a ladder, she said: “Wait.”

Dave stopped, thinking she is about to tell him about someone else that needs rescuing. She meekly lifted her phone and snapped a selfie, making the duck face and everything, with flames in the background. Apparently, by the time he left, the Instagram model had posted the photo to her profile and it was already getting tons of likes. From what I hear, though, she DID kill the spider. So technically, she wasn’t a TOTAL moron.

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#42 Poor Doggie

Not a firefighter, but have had to call them for something stupid. The grates on the bottom of grooming salon tubs have small spaces. My employee didn't remove the grate for this small dog with tiny toes and one got stuck. After much effort, I called the fire department because no matter what we tried, it would not come out. The firefighters came in and just popped the toe right out. Poor dog. She was in deep trouble for it—I don't believe she lasted long after I quit.

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#43 There's Only One Santa

I rescued a guy trying to surprise his girlfriend on Christmas by coming down the chimney completely unannounced. Her son noticed something was going on before she did. He put a starter log in the fireplace and almost ended him had the smoke not started billowing out the fireplace into the living room. I ran into her with a different guy on St. Patrick's Day.

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#44 Cat Got Your... Body?

An 8-year-old girl stuck up to her waist in one of those cat tree things with an enclosure in the bottom. The hole for the cat to was exactly the width of her waist, and once she got her arms in, she got them twisted up in such a way that she couldn't push herself out. We ended up cutting it apart around her with Raptor shears since those things are mostly just cardboard and carpet stapled together. By far the funniest call I've ever responded to.

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#45 Makeshift Pickle Roast

Once, when I was much younger, my sister had to call the base firefighters because our younger brother had started a fire by trying to roast a pickle on a makeshift lamp. He took the entire thing apart, then pieced it back together with wire nuts and the like. He still has the scars from that incident.

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Women Share Behaviors That Men Think Are Attractive, But Really Aren’t

It’s hard to know what will woo future partners, but some actions aren’t half as attractive as you think. Here, women describe the worst things men can do.
January 27, 2023 Maria Cruz


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