By Brett Gillin
If only every firefighter had a camera mounted on his or her helmet, the internet would be filled with superhero-esque rescues like the one we see in this video. The video, courtesy of the Portland Fire Department, shows the tense moments of a daring rescue of a car’s occupants from an active train track, thanks to a camera mounted on Portland Fire and Rescue worker Lisa Knight.
Captain Corey Wilson knew that the train track was active, and that there was a train on the tracks barreling toward the car. So while his compatriots diligently worked to try to get the train operator to halt the train, Captain Wilson did everything he could to rescue the occupant of the car before tragedy struck.
What brought about the need for the daring rescue was when the driver of the car slammed into a guard rail by the tracks. The force of the impact was so great that it made it impossible for the man to open the driver’s side door. It also pinned the driver inside the car, which had now stopped directly on the train tracks.
“If there’s an oncoming train, that’s my first concern,” Captain Wilson told KGW. “With one westbound train, my first thought was maybe the other train is coming eastbound and crisscrossing directions, so [I’m] kinda looking in both directions trying to confirm which way a train could be coming.”
Lisa Knight told KGW “We kept hearing, over dispatch, that they hadn’t got a hold of the train company to confirm they were stopping, so that was when everyone was like ‘We’ve got to get him off the tracks!’” It was about that time that tensions kicked into high gear and rescue workers moved as quickly as they could to free the man from the mangled car. As they were trying to free the man, you can see another train pass the car and rescue workers on the tracks just yards away from the scene of the accident.
“It’s intimidating. It’s like that’s what’s coming at us right now,” Lisa Knight recalled. So firefighters decided to shift from hero to superhero with their next move. As efforts to free the man from the wreckage proved to be moving too slowly, they decided the only way to ensure the safety of the man, as well as those on the train coming on the same tracks, was to literally lift the car off of the tracks.
It took the crew just three attempts to literally lift the car off of the train tracks and to safety. All the while, they worried that the incoming train might come barreling through any moment. Thankfully, once the car was moved to safety, they saw the oncoming train, a mere 20 blocks away, stopped safely.