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After man saws his arms, Home Depot workers get counseling

April 13, 2013|By a Times Staff Writer

Workers at a West Covina Home Depot were offered grief counseling Friday after a man tried to cut off his arms with a saw Wednesday.

Surgeons managed to save the arms of the man, whom West Covina police described as being in his 50s. He was in critical condition Thursday at a hospital, said Cpl. Rudy Lopez.

West Covina police say the man calmly and quietly walked into the Home Depot shortly 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.

The man was passing out as officers arrived, police said.

The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported that Home Depot employees were getting grief counseling.

"We have a professional counseling company whom we contract with and bring them in for any number of incidents," Home Depot spokesman Stephen Holmes told the paper.  "I won't speculate at this time on any changes that we [Home Depot] may or may not make regarding safety team reviews."

Art Hurtado, an off-duty Pasadena paramedic who was at the store, was the first medic on scene to help police.

“Found him face down, blood all over the store, multiple aisles,” Hurtado told NBC4. “Barely had a pulse and he was just barely breathing.”

He and others 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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