Four Omaha firefighters are being honored by the American Red Cross as Heroes of the Heartland. Last summer, they lifted a car off a man who was trapped in his living room.
It was July 5, 2012, when a call came in of a car that had gone into a home at 27th and Poppleton.
"We all sort of visualized a car being stuck in the side of a house," said Omaha Fire Captain Dustin Guzman.
Little did the crew of four -- who work out of the downtown headquarters -- know it was much worse. "The entire car -- from bumper-to-bumper was in the house on top of a guy. He was trying to scream but he couldn't," said Guzman.
When the victim could talk, he told them: "Get me out of here!" and "Don't let me die!"
"We thought it was a pillow but once we got all the debris off him -- it was him sitting there," said Firefighter Adam Boswell.
Firefighters used every tool in the toolbox -- jaws of life, airbags, etc -- but little helped.
The man had been sitting on the couch watching TV when the car came crashing into the 12 x 10ft living room. He was trapped underneath the sedan.
"Finally, I looked at the Captain and Adam and said -- we just have to pick this up," said Firefighter Jim McNew. "We tried it the first time and raised it a couple inches and said we can do better than that."
Then -- they were able to raise the car a foot.
"Between Adam and the (victim), they squeezed their way out of there and we got him up and out from underneath the car," said McNew.
"We were expecting it to be worse than it was but I don't think he had more than scratches for a guy who had a car on top of him," said Firefighter Matt Bowes.
Training can only take you so far. This rescue wasn't one of the chapters. Perhaps it will be now.
"We come to work everyday not expecting awards," said McNew. "This is our job."
Next week -- the America Red Cross honors its "Heroes of the Heartland" during a luncheon.