Tow Truck Drivers Came To The Rescue, Literally, At Scene Of Fort Worth I-35W Pileup – CBS Dallas / Fort Worth

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The emergency response to the February 11 buildup on Interstate-35W was massive.

MedStar reports that there were 34 employees on site, working alongside 80 police officers and nearly 70 firefighters. Not included in those numbers are the dozens of tow truck drivers who helped first responders not only clear up the wrecked rubble but also lift thousands of pounds of crushed vehicles so that firefighters can rescue captured people.

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James Bennett Jr. not only owns Beard’s Towing, one of the tow truck companies that responded to Thursday’s crash, but is also the incident management commander for the area’s traffic incident management system. This position means Bennett coordinated the response of nearly 90 tow trucks that were on site helping with the crash.

In addition, his company often conducts rescue training for DFW first responders. Training that played a critical role in the emergency response yesterday.

“The main goals of [the training] It’s up to every industry – police, fire services, towers, ambulance services, and dangerous goods teams – to understand the tools that each industry and department has, ”says Bennett.

Tools that play a vital role in safely rescuing someone trapped in the rubble of a fall.

“So if something weighing 45,000 to 80,000 pounds is locked onto something weighing less than a ton, we need to be able to carefully and safely remove it so that firefighters can get in and do their job,” explains Bennett.

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Photos of their training sessions look eerily similar to the emergency teams on I-35W in Fort Worth.

The training shows how large rigs crush cars between concrete barriers and Jaws of Life to break open smashed vehicles.

It is a training that helps first responders practice and accurately assess and handle these situations as they arise in real life.

According to Bennett, training goes beyond learning new skills, helping first responders and tow truck drivers build the trust and camaraderie that enables them to work as a team during moments when minutes can mean life or death for accident victims.

“It’s going to be one of those things that we don’t want to see who’s in charge,” Bennett explains. “We want to see and make sure that every position we take is efficient and effective for the goal we are trying to achieve and yesterday’s goal was to get the victims out.”

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Bennett says he and his team worked through midnight Thursday to clear the wreckage from the freeway. He says he has never seen such a horrific crash in Texas before and hopes never to see anything like it again.

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