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Dover firefighters use 'jaws of life' to free boy from washing machine

7:59 PM, Feb 4, 2008   |    comments
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Four-year-old Donovan Hasseman climbed into the washer and ended up becoming trapped with his back stuck up against the agitator. "I was petrified," says his mother Jennifer Hasseman. "I didn't know what to do. I was beside myself." Donovan's mother called 9-1-1 when she couldn't get the boy out of the washing machine. Firefighters then worked for half an hour to free the boy. At one point firefighters enlisted the help of a local appliance repairman for advice. In the end, firefighters used the "jaws of life," a piece of equipment normally used to extract accident victims trapped in wreckage. Firefighters used the "jaws of life" to cut through the walls of the washer to create enough space to get Donovan out. On Monday, Donovan was treated to a tour of a Dover fire station and was given a ride in a fire truck. "From the situation they were in, they were pretty helpless and trapped and to see him play like a regular kid, that's a pretty good feeling," says Dover Fire Department Captain Brooks Ross. "I owe them my son's life," says Jennifer. The family did lose their wash machine in the rescue. "One of the questions was,'Do you think you repair that?'" joked Jim Gibbs of Jim Gibbs TV & Appliances, who was giving the firemen advice on freeing him. "I said, I could have before you guys started on it!" Despite the ordeal Donovan was not hurt. He was taken to the hospital as a precaution and was released. The boy was given a stuffed bear which the family has since named "Agitator."


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