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AFD peels back roof, frees driver

The aftermath of the accident

News Staff Writer

An unidentified Atmore man reportedly escaped a single-vehicle wreck with relatively minor cuts, bumps and bruises after firemen cut the roof of his vehicle and peeled it back to rescue him.
Atmore Police Department reports were unavailable by Tuesday’s press deadline, so the name and age of the driver (and only occupant of the vehicle) were not immediately available.
But Atmore Fire Department incident reports show that AFD personnel were dispatched at 1:39 a.m., May 3 to a “one-vehicle MVA (motor vehicle accident)” on Martin Luther King Drive, between Sunset Drive and Northgate Drive. Reports were that a man was trapped inside his vehicle, and AFD personnel arrived to find that he was pinned in the front seat by the crumpled driver’s side door.
A local man who heard the crash and videotaped the rescue with his phone, said the injured man was driving fairly fast and “jumped the stop sign.” The witness, who posted his video on Facebook, also said the vehicle “flipped three or four times” before coming to rest.
Reports show that AFD firefighter-medics used extraction tools to make cuts on each side of the vehicle and peel back the roof. They got the unidentified patient out of the vehicle, stabilized him and loaded him into a waiting ambulance.
The ambulance took him to Atmore Community Hospital, where he was readied for transfer by helicopter to an unspecified regional trauma center.
Fire Chief Ron Peebles said firemen worked with precision and speed to make three textbook cuts on each side of the vehicle’s roof and were able to rescue the victim in a relatively short time.
“They cut it A, B and C on both sides, just like they were taught,” Peebles said. “The ‘A’ cut is made around the windshield; the ‘B’ cut is made at the rear window and back seat area; and the ‘C’ cut is made above the back seat and trunk area. Once they cut both sides, it opened just like a door. It just peeled back.”
Firemen got the entrapped man out and on his way to the hospital, then packed up their gear and were gone in less than an hour.