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Hermantown Man Rescued from Collapsed Snow Fort: ‘It was Difficult to Breathe’

Updated: 01/20/2014 10:24 PM
Created: 01/20/2014 9:07 PM WDIO.com
By: Alan Hoglund
ahoglund@wdio.com

Previous Coverage: Hermantown Police Rescue Man Trapped in Collapsed Snow Fort

A Hermantown man trapped under a collapsed snow fort tells Eyewitness News that it was hard to breathe and nearly impossible to move. He's safe now, thanks to his son who knew exactly how to help.

Josh Toms, 33, said he was trapped for about 15 minutes Sunday evening after the fort roof collapsed on him while he was inside with his dog, Leo.

“There was a little breathing room, but I couldn't move anything," Toms said.

Toms thought the moments he spent stuck in the snowbank may be his last. He told us that "there was a point where I actually believed this, this was it."

“It was so heavy that it was painful right on my hips. I could really feel the pressure there."

Toms, a paramedic and volunteer firefighter, started to hyperventilate. But he remembered quickly that it'd only eat up his air supply faster.

"I kind of calmed myself down. I quit moving and I just focused on my breathing," he said.

Outside the fort was Toms’ son, Ian. "It was like, really, really scary because I didn't know what was happening," Ian said.

Ian then remembered what Toms had told him an hour before: "You first call 911 and then you come back and you start shoveling. But I was like, 'don't worry this never happens.'"

But this time it did.

Ian said "I was like ‘oh, he's just going to stand up,’ but he didn't stand up. So I ran inside to call 911."

Just 15 minutes later, Toms said police pulled him from the snowbank. He was dizzy and felt faint, but he was okay.

"I think we're going to have a sign that says no forts anymore," Toms said.

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Lake Effect Snow Advisory

WI AREAS AFFECTED: Iron
Expires: 10/31/2014 11:00 AM

Lake Effect Snow Advisory

MI AREAS AFFECTED: Gogebic; Houghton; Keweenaw; Ontonagon; Southern Houghton
Expires: 10/31/2014 12:00 PM

Lakeshore Flood Advisory

MI AREAS AFFECTED: Alger; Baraga; Gogebic; Houghton; Keweenaw; Marquette; Ontonagon
Expires: 10/31/2014 2:00 PM

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