Dorian Strubing, who turns 3 in July, wedged himself in the barrel on Saturday evening, while his family was finishing dinner a few feet away, his dad, Lance Strubing told CNN.
“He was just playing like he normally does,” Strubing said. “Then he calmly just goes ‘Help, please.’ because he’s stuck and he couldn’t get out.”
Dorian wasn’t in any pain, but he’d managed to squat down in the barrel and then couldn’t straighten his legs to get free, his dad said.
“We tried to get him out for about 10 minutes or so,” Strubing said. “I tried putting the thing on its side, trying to get him to shift his legs and whatnot, but we just couldn’t get him back out.”
They took him to the emergency room in Portland, Tennessee, and called ahead to let staff know they were on the way.
“The nurse actually thought it was a prank call at first,” he said.
Dorian stayed really calm during the ordeal and hung onto a fuzzy, stuffed bear the hospital gave him. Hospital staff brought Dorian straight in and started working to free him. They took X-Rays of the barrel to find out how he was positioned.
When the ER staff couldn’t get him out of the barrel, they called the fire department.
The crew from Portland Fire Department Engine 2 took Dorian outside to remove him from the barrel, according to a post on the department’s Facebook page.
Strubing said they considered using the jaws of life to free Dorian, but they couldn’t get a good grip on the barrel. Instead, they cut the barrel with a power saw, so they could then pry off the bottom with screwdrivers and hammers.
Kelly Strubing, Dorian’s mom, said she was very nervous — but that the firefighters did a great job and never came close to cutting Dorian.
“When his feet were able to be released through the bottom of the barrel and I pulled him out the top it was pure relief!” she said. “He just clung to me, it was the best hug I’ve ever gotten and I’ll never forget that moment.”
Dorian had been in the barrel for about two hours by the time he got free, his dad said.
Dorian got an ice pop and a check-up, and his parents asked the firefighters and everyone in the emergency room to sign the barrel for him.
They’re keeping it in the garage because it will be a nice keepsake for him when he gets older.
“Every time he runs by, he goes ‘barrel stuck!'” his dad said.
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