On December 8, 2016, at 10:52 a.m., a call came in to the Marion Fire Department for a semi roll-over on Highway 151 near Stone Road. Firetrucks and ambulances were dispatched to the scene.
Firefighters Jeff Hoover, Peter Lammer, Jeremy Smith and Zachary Bruce arrived on scene and were directed to a pond on the south side of the highway. A semi cab was nearly submerged (with the driver’s side completely under water.) Witnesses on scene said they hadn’t observed anyone exit the semi.
That day, temperatures were around 15 degrees, with a slight wind chill and flurries. Only a few feet of the semi cab could be seen above the water. Firefighters Bruce and Smith quickly dressed in their rescue wetsuits and entered the freeing waters. Firefighter Bruce was able to break open the passenger side rear window of the cab and hear the driver’s voice.
After the crash, the driver was pinned in the front of the cab and was unable to free himself. With his head barely above the waterline, his only source of oxygen was a small pocket of air.
Firefighters Hoover and Lammer entered the water in a boat to assist. A reciprocating saw and air chisel were used to cut a hole between the rear passenger window and the sunroof of the cab, allowing them to reach inside and free the driver.
During the rescue, the firefighters could not see the trapped man. They kept in constant contact with him, reassuring him they were going to get him out. Nearly an hour after arriving on scene, the man was rescued by the four brave firefighters.
Cedar Rapids Fire Department was there to take the driver in for immediate medical attention. All four firefighters needed treatment after showing signs of extreme exhaustion.