First responders have hard jobs. They get called to the worst situations imaginable. These redditors have seen the worst and shared their stories. Some have been edited for clarity. Please note that some of these stories are quite disturbing.
We responded to a call at a Motel 6 near Washington, DC. We get to the room and there’s a skinny guy in his underwear at the door screaming incoherently. We go inside the room and see what he’s pointing at...a dude about 300 pounds, birthday suit only, covered in baby oil, that was completely unresponsive on a tarp.
We try to get him on the stretcher, but he keeps sliding off. We use the sheets and even curtains to try to get the oil off him, to no avail. Eventually, we have to call the fire department to help us get him up, and even when we get him on the stretcher, he slides right off. Eventually, we get him strapped in, and take him to the hospital.
He passed away without ever regaining consciousness. Apparently, what happened was this married father of three flew to DC to meet his internet boyfriend. One of their kinks was the bigger dude taking Ambien and letting the other guy make love to him. Doctors suspect that the Ambien caused his epiglottis to relax, and baby oil got into his lungs, where it blocked his alveola.
I’m still curious how notifying the family went on that one."
"I'm a cop. One time we got a call about a minor wreck in a highway corridor. We get there, I’m handling the accident.
A hundred yards down there is a car on flats. And another further down from that. Unrelated to the accident. One of the drivers walked back to us and told us a sketchy guy had been stopping at these cars to offer his help in fixing the flats. The theory was that he threw something on the road to flatten the tires so that he could ‘help’ and get money from the drivers.
I’m stuck at the back end of this mess, on the radio trying to get another unit to detain the shady guy.
All of a sudden I look over and there’s a guy in nothing but a hospital gown and an IV hanging out of his arm just toodling along the shoulder. The nearest hospital was several miles away, so I have no idea how he covered that distance with nobody noticing.
So here I am with 1) a car wreck, 2) a guy possibly flattening tires on purpose, and 3) an escaped hospital patient. All completely unrelated, on a major highway late at night."
"As a brand-new ER nurse we had two police officers drop off a fully unclothed man bleeding from his groin area. We were informed he was not in custody, but they would be in the waiting room to arrest him when he was discharged (the city would have had to pay for his care if he was under arrest) the man refused to say anything 'without his lawyer' so all I knew was the chief complaint, cut on his sack.
I take off the towel and get to see my first ball, as in without the normal fleshy covering. The way the skin was ripped I thought for sure a police dog was involved.
Someone manages to get the backstory out of the cops, dude was in the shower when they arrived to arrest him on a substance charge. He runs and tries to hop over a chain link fence. Ouch."
"Worst thing I've seen is a family of five that burned to death in their SUV. They were traveling down the interstate when a vehicle going the opposite direction crossed the median, T-boning them, which smashed them into the car that was on their right side as they were passing. This caused their vehicle to engulf in flames. No way out except the back hatch, as their left doors were crushed from the guy who crossed the median and their right side crushed from the car they were trying to pass.
The driver (dad) died on impact. The mom died from smoke inhalation. Would most have likely lived had she been able to get out.
The oldest daughter and youngest daughter were found in the hatch area of the SUV, with the oldest daughter's hand on the release. Both daughter's died from smoke inhalation. The mom was found as if she had just aided in getting the youngest daughter in the hatch area of the SUV.
The son sitting up front died from smoke inhalation but most likely would have died anyways due to blunt force trauma.
I was really messed up for a while after that.
This family was on their way to the local university to see their son that they hadn't seen in a few months. They were two miles from their exit. I volunteered to go with the Chaplin and give the notice.
This kid lost his whole family in a split-second. He said that the last thing he said to his mom was 'Don't come down here, none of my friends' families visits them and you will just embarrass me.' He was devastated. After all these years I still keep in constant contact with him, and he is practically another son to our family."
"I used to be a cop. We got a call from a guy who claimed to be the victim of a robbery and was incapacitated in his home and had only just managed to reach his phone and call us. We arrived to a trailer home that was totally empty except for a man in hardcore fetish gear tied to some sort of adult swing. I mean, there was nothing else in this house except the gimp tied to the adult swing. Nothing, no furniture, not even curtains.
'Okay dude, WHAT THE??'
Gimp: Well you see, officer, I hired two ladies of the night to spank me while I was in the swing, nothing illegal there, no other acts, just some spanking, and they'd leave. Well, the girls arrived, tied me to the swing, then, two burly guys showed up beat the living heck out of me. Then pulled up a Uhaul trailer and stole literally everything that I own before leaving me hanging here with my cell phone because they said they knew nobody would believe my story anyways, but the cops would probably chase them for a murder.
I still don't know if I believe his story, but never found any evidence to suggest that he was lying either. I just didn't find anything at all."
"A friend of mine is a cop in the UK and his story is more confusing as he saw it unfold, but missed how it all started. It was his first week out on patrol, and he was assigned to an experienced partner. They respond to a burglary in progress and are told that a nearby dog unit was on the scene already. When they arrive at the property they hear a commotion outside that's clearly between an officer and a suspect, and they open the garden gate to assist the dog unit.
What they then witness is a suspect face down on the grass, an officer stamping on the suspect's back whilst holding his arm up near her hip and shouting 'stop resisting!' and the police dog absolutely going to town on this guy's buttocks with his teeth. The suspect is, unsurprisingly, struggling and resisting and then ends up kicking the dog. The dog then latches onto the guy's leg, starts ferociously tugging, PULLS IT OFF and then runs towards the new cops on the scene with it.
It turns out that was a fake leg (which no-one except the suspect knew at the time), and my buddy the cop said he just froze whilst trying to figure out how on earth he calls this in and whether he should retrieve the man's leg from the police dog."
"A buddy from work is a volunteer firefighter. He used to get called to terrible accidents on I-95, a very busy interstate highway. He gets called to this bad accident that involved four people (or what was left of them) and a highly inebriated lady that was driving waaaaaaaaay too fast. Turns out that the two girls in the car were fine, while both their boyfriends were outside the car to change a flat. Whilst doing so, here comes the sloshed lady and creams both guys while doing 100.
My friend, let's call him Bill, gets there and tries to do chest compressions, which he couldn't really do because the guy was missing the whole right side of his chest. So basically his entire chest caved in. At this point, understandably, the girls were going crazy, saying there was another guy involved but Bill can't find him..... until he made his way down to the lady's car.
The body was pinned underneath the car and was dragged 50 yards down the road. All that was left was barely identifiable as human."
"This one happened to my friend, first day on the job.
He's driving with his partner. Normally we don't have partners but for the first six months when you start you are paired up. Also, we have community volunteers which are like unarmed but trained individuals who assist the peace officer. So three people total.
He's driving down a highway when he sees a man on the side of the road near an entrance to an access road for a cottage. The man is in his birthday suit and covered in blood and pointing down the access road, trying to get their attention.
Turn on lights and go down the road. The man is signalling them and when they pull over he just leaps into a woods and starts running alongside the road. They follow.
They get to a cottage and the door is open. They turn to look at the undressed man, and he's gone. Vanished into the woods. There is also blood all over the door and deck.
Supervisor gets out, goes into the trunk, gets a weapon and gives it to the unarmed auxillary saying something like, 'Cover out back and try not to shoot us, we are going in.'
He and my friend draw their sidearms and go.
When they get inside, there is blood everywhere. Like from a movie, all over the walls, furniture, just everywhere. Enter the living room there is a man on the couch with a couple knife wounds to his stomach but is alert and seems actually not that bad, but he's holding a snarling dog on a leash.
'If you let that dog go, it's dead' says the supervisor. Guy ties leash to side of couch. Puts his hands up, but won't say a word. Is there anyone here? What happened, are you ok? Nothing he's not answering.
They place him under arrest and auxillary takes him to the car.
They continue searching upstairs. Clearing rooms out until they get to one of the bedrooms. They look in and there is a guy under some covers but still obviously awake. 'Show me your hands.' They guy hears them, throws the blanket off to reveal he is also undressed, stabbed, and basically about to die from blood loss.
Paramedics come, house is fully cleared out. As it turns out, the three guys (including forest man) were all dealers just having a get-together. They started doing molly and after getting really high it turned into a bit of a romp. In a moment of lucidity, one of the dealers realized he wasn't down with that and grabbed a knife, which escalated into a knife fight, hence all the blood."
"Former cop. Was a rookie deputy and got this call that a man got his foot caught in a garden tiller and was bleeding profusely. It was a 20-minute drive running code, so I had time to plan out my actions. I figured the ambulance would be about 10 minutes behind me, so I was going to tourniquet above the knee and I assumed he’d be unconscious and/or needing CPR. I get there and it’s a massive farm building with two guys just standing there smoking. I grabbed my medic bag (not a medic but it had tourniquet, c collars, gauze etc.) and run towards them to ask where the patient was. They were white as a ghost just smoking while pointing behind them.
I went inside and behind a big John Deere tractor was a huge power take-off driven tiller about seven feet wide and three feet tall. There was my victim, with his back against the tractor tire, his left leg was sucked in the tiller and wrapped twice around it with the sole of the shoe next to his face and toe pointing towards the left. His femur shot out underneath the tiller and was beautifully white with no blood. He looked up at me and said 'can you help me?' Now keep in mind, I’m 21, thought this was a garden tiller and assumed I’d be able to do something, but I was completely out of my element. Two ambulances, the rural fire department extrication team, a welding company to cut the machine apart on scene, a helicopter, and a surgeon were all on scene to cut him free.
It was humbling. A split-second around farm equipment and a buddy pulling the wrong lever while the victim wasn’t making smart decisions resulted in an amputation clear up to the hip when it was said and done. Also, the first time I saw a black man turn pale/green. The fire department was of course volunteer and this poor kid couldn’t stop looking at it. He’d turn his head, look at that femur protruding out, turn different shades of color, look away and gag, then repeat. Clearly the most messed up thing he had seen at the time."
"I found three kids one day running next to a busy highway. The oldest was 5 years old. We finally got them identified and figured out they lived about a mile away.
We got there.
They were in the care of their adult (20-year-old) sister while their parents were on vacation for two weeks.
The sister decided she’d rather pop pills and smoke weed than deal with the kids, so she locked them in their bedroom for about 10 days, occasionally sliding food and water around the door.
There were urine stains on the baseboards in the bedroom from where the kids had decided their 'bathroom' should be. Finally, the 5-year-old had enough and figured out how to unlock the bedroom window and make a break for it."
"This is my uncle’s story - not a cop but the call was sent to the fire department instead due to the strangeness.
The truck was sent on a call for an 'unknown disturbance,' which basically means anything in the world. They get sent an address and that’s pretty much it. Truck drives down the street looking for this address, and they get to the end and all they can see is an abandoned lot with nothing but bushes. Even though they can’t see anyone they have to get out and investigate so my uncle and a couple of the guys get out of the truck and start walking around with the usual, 'fire department, call out!'
They didn’t hear anything for a while and were about to pack it in as another pointless prank call when my uncle walked past a bush and heard rustling. He looks over and sees a man standing kind of awkwardly behind a bush, 'Hey mister fireman,' 'Did you call 911?' 'Umm yes sir...'
My uncle steps a bit closer and realizes the man is unclothed and standing at a strange angle. He motions to another firefighter that he found the caller and goes behind the bush to begin assessing (he is a firefighter/paramedic). That’s when he realizes that the man has, what he refers to, 'a bunny tail' on his butt.
Of course, they try to get the man to explain why he had called in distress and what was going on. After a bit of avoidance the man finally admits that he had taken a toilet brush cleaner and shoved the handle up his bum (honestly no idea why anyone would think this is a good idea generally). Being the enlightened individual that he is, he chose one with a hook on the end. What my uncle and the other firefighters assumed was that the hook had gotten stuck on something internally because they couldn’t pull it out and it caused the man significant discomfort when they tried.
My uncle left the man with another firefighter (getting his information) and went back to the truck to call for an ambulance. (Of course at this point he always mentions that he walked around the truck to see the rest of the company trying to silently die of laughter out of view of the bushes) When the ambulance arrives my uncle meets them with a grin on his face and tells them to 'brace themselves' before walking them over to the bushes.
They assess the man and conclude that there is no way for them to remove the toilet brush in the field and that they have to admit him to the hospital for surgery. The only problem was that they couldn’t figure out how to get him into the gurney without causing him to move in a way that caused him more pain. They end up throwing a blanket over him and the fire fighters help maneuver him into a sort of downward dog/mountain position with his bum in the air to keep the toilet brush at the right angle.
At that point, my uncle decide that the fire department was done with the call and the paramedics could handle it from there and loaded up the company onto the truck. As they began to drive away he says 'they were loading this guy into the rig as we drove off and the last I saw of him was that blanket falling off and that bunny tail of his sticking straight up in the air!'"
"Took a call about two missing children. The parents thought they might've gone swimming in the nearby river. Thing is, the river had one of those dams with the turbines or whatever? I don't know how they work, but yeah.
So downstream, we started finding bits and pieces for a few hundred feet. We had to collect enough to make a decent attempt at verifying the identities. There wasn't really enough left in large enough pieces to get a good idea of what had washed up. Needless to say, seeing that side of the river was pretty bad."
"EMT here. I've brought people back to life, I've dealt with massive traumas. The most messed-up thing that I've dealt with, was a call to the home of a raging drinker. I show up in my personal vehicle after police and the ambulance are on scene for a dehydrated male.
I walk in and see people holding their noses as they walk into the bedroom, I figured they were exaggerating until I walked in. This dude hadn't left the bedroom for days, he was just in there drinking. He had poop on the floor, on the bed, and somehow on the walls. There was some poop on the tile of the bathroom that was attached to the bedroom, it had a knife next to it like he was trying to chip off the dried up poop. He had poop in his pants and had vomited and peed all over the place and himself.
That was the day that I had learned to put Vicks vapor rub on my top lip to mask bad odors. In this field, you really learn what drinking can do to people, which sucks because you often need a drink at the end of a shift."
"I'm going to relate this story from my father, who was a first responder on several bad scenes during his career as a lieutenant and detective in a police force. This happened in the mid-1990s.
The first scene involves a 4-year-old boy riding a tricycle (low to the ground, plastic) in the road and on the sidewalk in his neighborhood. The mother was on the porch doing housework, so not far away. A robbery had just taken place and the police were in pursuit of a large Lincoln sedan that was now speeding through the neighborhood at 60 mph. Police right behind him. The mother heard engines roaring, but couldn't get to the street fast enough. She heard the impact on the tricycle and then saw it. She said time slowed down. She saw the bike fly over 150 feet in different pieces and said 'it was like watching the scene for several minutes,' she was just frozen watching her son's tricycle in slow motion. She knew he was dead.
The screaming of the mother 'shook the body to the core.' The cops that were there stood still. The mothers shrieking was all that could be heard."
"This was just this past Sunday. Got a call for a confirmed 'Code 73' (dead person).
We rolled out, and you could smell it from the driveway.
A very large woman had died in the front seat of her car. She had doubled over into the passenger seat and vomited blood everywhere.
But the real reason it was so messed up... you ever see what happens to a beef roast when you put it in a slow cooker for a few hours?
She had been in that car for days. In the sun. She was bloated and her skin was just sliding off her body when we'd move her. It took six of us to pull her out of the car and bag her.
One of the medics we were assisting got... err... broth... all over his uniform shirt. He stripped it off and threw it into the bag with her. He was just gonna buy a new one.
Definitely was the most disturbing thing I've seen."