Adventurous toddler rescued by fire crew after getting stuck in antique barrel

Picture: Facebook
Picture: Facebook 

Toddlers are nothing if not determined - given the chance, they'll run, hide or jump into any available space, blissfully unaware it may not fit them.

That's how little Dorian Strubing came to find himself jammed tightly inside his grandparent's antique wooden barrel with no way for his parents to free him.

The two-year-old, from Tennessee, was instead taken to the local emergency room by his parents Lance and Kelly, where he was X-rayed, and the couple told he'd need to be cut free. 

As Kelly told Essential Kids, Dorian is a curious toddler, but they never expected this to be their first trip to the ER as parents.

"He is a very curious little man and he absolutely loves to climb. Still I was pretty amazed that he got himself stuck so tight that we needed emergency services to help," she said.

They had been eating dinner at Lance's parents house and Dorian had been watching TV, when the group heard a calm little 'Help please' from another room.

"We weren't alarmed right away because he will call for help to reach things or open things regularly. When we saw him in the barrel we assumed we just needed to help him stand," she said.  

"However it was quickly apparent he was wedged. When he tried to straighten he was getting caught on his knees and hips. We probably tried to reposition and help him stand for about five-10 minutes before we realised we couldn't get him free on our own."

The couple carried the barrel to their car and drove to the local hospital, where there happened to be a fire station across the street. 


Incredibly, Kelly - who is currently 30 weeks pregnant with twins, says the whole family, including Dorian, stayed calm throughout the ordeal.

"I'm a nurse and my mother-in-law is a retired nurse so it takes quite a bit to make us panic. We actually called ahead to let the ER know we were on the way. When we walked in with my husband carrying Dorian in the barrel the receptionist admitted she thought it had been a prank call," Kelly said.

Picture: Kelly says Dorian stayed calm through the entire ordeal

Picture: Kelly says Dorian stayed calm through the entire ordeal

"They brought us right to a room and it felt like the entire staff of the ER joined us in the room."

The fire crew were called and attempted to free him using the jaws of life, however not even those worked, Kelly said, as they were unable to get a safe grip.

Crews instead alternated between a power saw, hammers and screwdrivers to chip away at the bottom until the toddler was able to straighten his legs and be pulled free. Stopping every so often so Kelly and Lance could reassure him everything would be ok.

"While the fire department was working my husband Lance held the barrel steady and was able to be right with Dorian and help keep him calm. Dorian started to panic and cry once when the tool they were using made a really loud noise," she said.

Picture: Dorian with parents Kelly and Lance

Picture: Dorian with parents Kelly and Lance

"Lance and I asked the crew to pause and I was able to calm Dorian in a couple minutes. I spent a good amount of time helping Dorian cover his ears to block out the noise of the power tools."

Miraculously, the little boy escaped uninjured and was calmed down with an iceblock after the ordeal. The fire crew even signed the barrel for him as a memento.

"He's doing great! Luckily he didn't have any injuries at all," Kelly said. "He still gets really excited when I show him the pictures. Keeps saying 'Dorian stuck!' And he has been nearly inseparable from the teddy bear the ER nurses gave him."