Former firefighter saves own life, rips leg from underneath loaded truck in Pierce Co.
NEAR LAKE KAPOWSIN, Wash. -- A logging truck driver is recovering after being run over by his own fully loaded truck near Lake Kapowsin in Pierce County on April 16.
West used a special set of skills to save his own life, even though he ended up losing a leg.
"I basically felt or heard the bones in my leg break," Troy said.
As he stood tightening the load of his logging truck deep in the woods, it started to skid, knocking him under the back wheels.
"So I spun around on my back underneath and it had already taken most of it off in the first set of duals and that's when I shoved it and ripped my leg off," West said.
It was April 16, and the weather near Lake Kapowsin was cold, snowy and windy. The rescue helicopter wasn't going to make it and the nearest paramedics were nearly an hour away.
West said he knew just what to do, as co-workers rushed to help him.
"I told everybody 'stay calm,'" he added.
West had them make a tourniquet for what was left of his leg out of a belt, then he told them to ask for Medic 93 and 96 out of Graham Fire and Rescue.
Troy was also a firefighter and fire commissioner with Orting Valley Fire and Rescue. It is something he'd been doing since he was 18 years old.
"And I was the only one that was calm and everybody else was freaked out," he said. " And I calmed them down."
He even talked to the 911 dispatcher himself.
"Told dispatch and they go, 'is the patient alert and oriented?' And I go, 'you're talking to him. This is what I want.'"
"He's extremely fortunate just to receive the injury that he did," said friend Jake Weigley, who is also a firefighter with Orting Valley Fire and Rescue. "He could have easily just been killed there on the spot."
"It was a split second decision," West said. "Either I get pulled into this and lose my life or I rip a limb off."
He is recuperating at his Orting home after nearly losing his life and will be getting a prosthetic leg soon. But, there is not much room for West and his wife to move around, as they live in a single-wide mobile home with their small dogs.
But, the tires that crushed his legs didn't crush West's spirit.
"It's all positive," he said. "There's no negative here."
A benefit dinner and auction is set for this Saturday afternoon and evening at the Buckley Eagles to help Troy in his recovery and get a larger home.