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‘It was really shocking’ | Pigeon Forge rescue crews describe helping driver, dog make it to safety

Pigeon Forge Fire Department crews worked for an hour to free a woman and her dog, after she drove off an embankment early Sunday morning causing the car to balance vertically.
Vertical Car Rescue
Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 7:08 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 20, 2022 at 7:11 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Pigeon Forge Fire Department crews worked for an hour to free a woman and her dog, after she drove off an embankment early Sunday morning causing the car to balance vertically.

“It was really shocking to see the car like that, because I’d never seen a car in that position,” Pigeon Forge firefighter and EMT, Ray Smith, said.

He did not expect the call early Sunday morning but knew he and his team could help.

Smith explained, “With a simple nudge, the car could’ve just rolled down the hill. So, we tried to be extra careful with everything we did. Even just touching the car, we didn’t want to put too much pressure on it.”

Another Pigeon Forge firefighter and EMT, Cory Ginter, responded to the call as well and worked on making sure the vehicle stayed in place.

“This was a little bit unique though because the way that the car was balanced we had to use some different stuff in the cabin to help with our anchor points,” Ginter said.

They used the cabin to stabilize the car, specifically the second-story window and doorframe.

“It wouldn’t have taken much to push it over for it to go down the hill, so we had to be really careful with what we were doing,” Ginter said.

They rescued the dog first and then the woman.

Smith said, “Once we got the door open, she was able to kind of wiggle out, then I pulled her out.”

During all this, the firefighters tried to keep her calm by talking to her and said, “she was pretty relaxed.”

Smith does not consider himself a hero.

“I was doing what my officers told me to do. And was able to help somebody out and that’s what we do everyday. So a hero? Probably not. This is an every day thing for us,” Smith said.

Ginter said there’s a lesson to be learned.

“The way the vehicle landed, and the way it went off the embankment if she didn’t have her seatbelt on she had the potential to go through the windshield,” Ginter explained.

“We’re glad it turned out the way it did,” Smith said.

The driver was visiting family who was staying at the cabin where she crashed, the firefighters said. Pigeon Forge Fire Department responds to 1,300 motor vehicle accidents a year. It’s the third-largest call after fire alarms and medical.

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