Firefighters take nearly an hour to extricate man from car

Nashville Fire Department

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – There’s controversy surrounding the Nashville Fire Department after it took firefighters nearly an hour to extricate a man from a car.

On Thursday night at 6:53 p.m., a driver crashed into a utility pole on Bell Road.

He was reportedly pinned in the vehicle with a head injury. Initial reports listed his wound as substantial, but subsequent reports downgraded the injury to non-life threatening.

It took multiple fire units and crews to free the driver.

Station 26, which is located around the corner from the scene, arrived to the wreck within four minutes of receiving the call.

However, engines don’t typically have extrication equipment. They’re usually on ladder trucks, which Station 26 does not have because theirs was in the shop.

They then called for help from Station 27 on Trousdale Drive, some  seven miles away.

Firefighters from that station also ran into issues because their reserve leader was malfunctioning.

According to Mark Young, the president of the Nashville Fire Union, truck 27 is not a front line truck and is only a reserve.

After the man had been trapped in the car for 35 minutes, the fire chief on the scene called for additional help from Station 2, which was 13 miles away. Once they arrived they freed the man, 54 minutes after the call was originally dispatched.

Young told News 2 the crews worked hard but inefficient equipment let them down.

“You hear about the golden hour, but the golden hour crashed on this call because of equipment. They worked tirelessly but the chief on the scene saw this wasn’t getting anywhere so he called for dispatch of the next closest rescue and rescue No. 2 is the downtown district. Once two gets on the scene with front line equipment, within 10 minutes the patient is out,” explained Young.

Brian Haas, spokesman for the Nashville Fire Department, released the following statement Friday:

“Sometime this morning, we heard what essentially amounted to a rumor that there were concerns that the equipment used to extricate the patient didn’t work as quickly as expected. In response, we acquired the power pack used last night – which is basically a unit that provides hydraulic power to extrication tools such as spreaders and cutter – and took it to Facility Maintenance for testing. The tests came back with the power pack performing within specs. As of right now, no one – no firefighters, engineers, captains, or chiefs – have made any work order requests to repair or test any equipment through Facility Maintenance, which is our standard procedure for addressing equipment issues. Instead, fire administration decided to test the equipment in an abundance of caution and it came back all within specs. If someone files a work order on equipment, we’ll address any issues that come up. But as of right now, as far as we know all equipment is working as intended.”

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