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Ala. firefighters save U-haul driver pinned by concrete beam

Birmingham firefighters worked to rescue the driver from under the beam, estimated to weigh 60,000 pounds


The rescue operation began about 1:15 p.m. Friday in the parking deck at Corland Vesta apartments on Highland Avenue.

Carol Robinson/TNS

By Carol Robinson

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A team of firefighters worked for at least 1 1/2 hours to rescue a U-Haul driver who was trapped under a collapsed concrete beam on Birmingham’s Southside.

The rescue operation began about 12:30 p.m. Friday in the parking deck at Cortland Vesta apartments on Highland Avenue.

Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service Battalion Chief Clay Hendon said the driver of the U-Haul was trying to enter the parking deck but did not have the height clearance to do so.

The top of the truck hit the beam, which caused it to collapse. The beam came crashing down on the cab of the truck.

The beam is about 40 feet long and estimated to weigh 60,000 pounds.

Two passengers in the U-Haul were able to self-extricate and were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries

The driver was trapped in the cab from the knees down. He was alert and talking with firefighters throughout the ordeal..

Firefighters specializing heavy rescue worked to stabilize the beam so it didn’t move further. Once that happened, Weil Wrecker brought in three large trucks which were able to use hydraulics to life the beam enough - only inches - so firefighters could cut the truck and free the driver.

Shortly before 3 p.m. , the driver was rescued. He was taken to UAB Hospital in stable condition with injuries to at least one of his legs.

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