The first time our department's new Hurst Rescue tool was used in an emergency was at an accident on I-86
(now I-84) on Monday, May 19, 1975. The tool had only been in the department for two months at the time, and
was carried on Ladder 2 out of headquarters along with other rescue equipment.
The accident occurred at about 12:45 PM as a car was heading east just approaching the Middle Turnpike overpass at exit 60. The driver lost control of the vehicle, struck the guard rail in the median, and rolled over the rails into the path of a westbound vehicle.
The driver of the offending vehicle was removed quickly and rushed to MMH (later transferred to St. Francis). The driver of the westbound vehicle was another story. He was stuck firmly in his vehicle. He was pinned by both legs. There was gasoline all around the driver and he appeared in need of immediate medical attention.
The extrication process was a textbook example of what we had been training for. The firefighters pulled out the Hurst tool and popped open the passenger door. They then cut the door posts and windshield posts. Using the chains, the dashboard was pulled away. The seat was then pulled back and the steering wheel lifted off the driver.
The extrication was completed within about 40 minutes from the time the apparatus arrived on the scene. The driver was sent to MMH where he was listed in serious condition with multiple fractures to both legs.
Deputy Chief Roy Stratton had high praise for his men and the Hurst tool, as did police officers at the scene. "There was no other way to get that man out. They did a fabulous job. The tool was used very professionally."