Man Rescued from Beneath Massive Tree

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A Lake County man is pulled to safety after he was pinned underneath a gigantic tree for nearly two hours!

Firefighters said Saturday night, James Mitchell, 58, was cutting down a dead Tulip tree on his property on Chillicothe Road in Kirtland.

Just as the 60-foot tree started to topple, Mitchell became trapped.

"I think the police department was shocked when they saw him, how large this tree was and the person was able to talk to him," said Kirtland Fire Chief Tom Hutton.

Mitchell's fiancee, Patti Anderson, tried to reach him by phone.

After several failed attempts, she became worried and called police to request a welfare check.

"I knew something was wrong, I just knew something was wrong," said Anderson.

Firefighters said the extremely difficult rescue lasted nearly an hour.

Rescuers had to cut through branches and debris with a chainsaw before the victim was able to be located.

After 47 minutes, rescuers were able to lift the tree off the ground.

"The 20-inch space that they had, they used what we call 'cribbing.' They stacked up wood, hard wood that we carry on our vehicles. They 'cribbed up' and they used airbags that run off of our self-contained breathing apparatus to actually raise the tree up. They were able to raise it 1.5-2 inches and that's all it really took to get him extricated," said Chief Hutton. "This is the first time we had to use airbags with a tree."

"I want to thank the Police Chief of Kirtland, the Fire Chief, all the ambulance drivers, everyone out there," said Anderson.

Mitchell was lifeflighted to MetroHealth Medical Center. His fiancee said he is wearing a neck brace and suffers from broken hips.

"I'm so grateful he's alive. I don't know what I would do without him, I really don't," said Anderson.

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