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Firefighters Used Part of Playground To Rescue 5-Year-Old Who Fell 30 Feet Down Well

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A Fourth of July fireworks celebration took a terrifying turn when 5-year-old Leo Hassebrock fell down a 30-foot well casing in Evansville, Indiana.

Leo was with his parents, Dianna and Daniel Hassebrock, watching the fireworks when he fell down a narrow pipe that was only 15 inches wide.

Some sources referred to this pipe as a sewer pipe, and others as a storm drain, but the fire department called it a well casing. Either way, the pipe was narrow and posed an imminent danger to the 5-year-old.

The young boy’s parents waited anxiously as firefighters from the Evansville Fire Department tried to figure out how to rescue the boy.

They stood helpless, trying to keep Leo, who was alert the entire time, calm while the firefighters worked.

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“That was the worst time of my life,” Daniel Hassebrock told WEHT/WTVW. “It seemed like time stopped.”

“I knew if he panicked, we weren’t going to get anywhere,” Dianna said.

The opening was too narrow for an adult to slip inside, meaning the rescue crew had to race against time to come up with some way to rescue the boy.

It was firefighter Lucas Macke who had the brilliant idea to use a swing from a park swing set to lift Leo out.

“I just came up with the idea, if we could get something between his legs and yank him up that way, he’s not gonna fall over, so I said, ‘What if we had, like, a seat from a swing?'” Macke said at a press conference, reported by Inside Edition.

Macke’s plan worked, and soon Leo, who suffered only cuts and bruises, was back in the arms of his relieved parents.

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“We first got him out, he looked at me,” said Daniel Hassebrock. “Hey Daddy!”

While it is still unclear exactly how Leo managed to fall into the pipe, his family was happy to report that the boy is doing well after the incident.

“He was down that hole for an hour and a half,” Daniel said. “It doesn’t seem like long, but when you’re lying on the ground [looking] down a little hole, you feel helpless.”

Leo was given the swing to keep, signed by the firefighters who helped with his rescue.

On July 9, the Hassebrock family visited the fire station to thank everyone who came to Leo’s aid.

“Often times we make an emergency run and never know the outcome,” the Evansville Fire Department wrote on Twitter. “Today the family of Leo Hassebroc stopped by Station 1 to thank crews who helped rescue him from a well casing on the 4th of July.”

Leo’s parents are thankful for the positive outcome, and the well casing has since been welded shut.

Liftable, a section of The Western Journal, has reached out to the Evansville Fire Department for comment but has not yet received a response. We will update this article if and when we do.

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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