When Jungle Gyms Don't Play Nice: Firefighters Help Boy Stuck in Playground Equipment

A student at Helen Keller Elementary School was accidentally stuck between the bars of piece of playground equipment Wednesday. But crews were able to free him quickly and without injury.

Recess with school kids is fun, but sometimes a jungle gym just needs to know when to let go.

Unfortunately, a piece of playground equipment at Helen Keller Elementary School hadn't learned that lesson Wednesday, Oct. 24, after a student became stuck in its bars this morning, a Tinley Park Fire Department official said.


Firefighters were called to the school around 11:55 a.m. to cut out the boy whose arm was caught in the equipment, said Battalion Chief Steve Klotz, adding he wasn't sure how the boy, who was uninjured, became stuck.

Principal Joann Green told Sun-Times Media that staff tried to use soap to slide out the arm, which had swelled up, but were unsuccessful. That's when 911 was called, the report said.

Crews from Engine Co. No. 202 and Truck Co. No. 204 used a Hurst tool—commonly known as the jaws of life—to cut the bars so the boy could remove his arm, Klotz said. The boy remained in good spirits throughout the entire rescue, which lasted 12 minutes, he added.

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"He was a very brave boy," said Klotz, who praised the teamwork between firefighters and school officials.

Green called the incident one of those "freaky things that happen," according to the Sun-Times Media report. Although rare, these sorts of child-vs.-playground equipment episodes do happen, Klotz said. In fact, it had been a while since the last time the department responded to this kind of call, he added.

No word on whether the playground equipment faces a lifetime recess ban or possible expulsion as punishment.

BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH: Patch is honoring breast cancer awareness with special coverage throughout the month of October. Please take a moment to learn more about what our community offers and share information with a loved one.

  • Breast Cancer in Young Women: Resources and Statistics in the Southland
  • Sisterhood of South Suburban Breast Cancer Survivors: Share Your Story
  • Healthy Living Can Prevent Breast Cancer: Area Resources
  • Think Pink: Breast Cancer Awareness Events in the Area
  • Where to Get a Breast Exam in the Southland


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