Jackson, the firefighter from Sherman Oaks, arrived about half an hour after the crash and joined a crew that worked feverishly to free a man. At first, all they could see was his hand and part of his torso. Using saws, cutters and spreaders, they were able to wiggle him free.
"It seemed like it was going fast," Jackson said. "It was probably going slow."
When the man was finally freed from the wreckage, it was clear he was going to survive. He thanked the rescuers, but few other words were exchanged. The team moved on. Though Jackson was at the accident site for seven more hours, that man was the only survivor he helped extract.
"You never think you're going to come to a call like this," Jackson said.
Within a few hours of the initial call, the moaning inside the cars had faded away. The Engine 96 crewmen started thinking about their own families; Nagel thought of his wife and three kids.
"It puts a lot of perspective on the little world you're living in," he said.
On Saturday, part of the crew was back at the site, still searching for victims.
"Everybody's numb," Barrios said. "It takes a few days to know what you went through."firstname.lastname@example.org@email@example.com
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