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Paramedic describes helping man who sawed his arms at Home Depot

April 11, 2013|By Joseph Serna and KTLA News

Pasadena Fire Department Capt. Art Hurtado was shopping at a West Covina Home Depot when he came upon the horrific scene: a man who just tried to saw off his arms.

Hurtado said the man was unconscious in a pool of his own blood.

“As I walked in he was face down. I thought it was a crime scene with a fatality,” Hurtado said at a news conference Thursday.

“At that time I knew we had to slow the bleeding down or this patient may or may not make it,” Hurtado added, according to KTLA News

The man remained in critical condition Thursday afternoon.

Surgeons managed to save the arms of the man. No further details were available about his condition.

West Covina police have spoken with the man’s family but have not talked to him because he can't talk yet, said Cpl. Rudy Lopez.

West Covina police say the man calmly and quietly walked into Home Depot before 1 p.m. Wednesday and headed to the hardware section where the saws were.

“He walked into the saw area and began cutting both of his arms,” Lopez said earlier. “One was a saw used to cut drywall. He used several saws.”

The man cut both arms down to the bone -– Lopez said there were wounds both above and below the elbow -– as panicked customers called 911 for help.

Officers tried to help when Hurtado arrived from another part of the store.

Hurtado told workers to get lots of towels. People came back with towels and quarter-inch nylon rope.

“I ripped it open and started stretching it out,” Hurtado said. “I told the police officer I wanted 24-inch sections, just start cutting.”

They created makeshift tourniquets using the rope, towels and twine. They wrapped them around the man’s biceps.

“If I didn’t have rope, I would’ve used my shoelaces,” Hurtado said. “We would’ve made it work.”


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