Dad: 'Hero' Clearwater firefighters brilliantly rescued 6-year-old's finger

- A routine trip to Costco turned into a dramatic rescue when a curious little boy's finger got stuck in a store display, according to one local family.

In a letter to the chief of Clearwater Fire & Rescue, the dad says his 6-year-old son decided to see if his fingers could fit into the holes of a table display Sunday. Christopher Minner's letter -- posted to Facebook by the fire department -- continues to describe the various efforts made by family and management to remove the boy's finger.

According to the letter, they tried liquid soap to slip the finger out with no success. After trying ice to reduce the swelling, Minner explained, "feeling helpless, I called 911."

Clearwater firefighters arrived and quickly got work. According to Minner, the team tried soap and oil, but swelling prevented the finger's freedom. Next the team used rubber bands and dental floss to try -- unsuccessfully -- to compress the finger through the hole. 

"They gave it their best shot," Minner continued.  "That’s when your team really went into rescue mode."

The father then described an incredible scene: Firefighters using a crowbar to remove the table top, then a saw to cut through the display. Firefighters used everything available, including their own personal gear, to protect the boy's finger from the sharp blade and heat from the sawing, but it didn't stop Ernie from screaming "loud enough to shake the rafters."

Finally, crews used a crescent wrench to pry the steel back and free the boy's finger, much to his father's relief.

"It was a moment of pure joy," Minner's note concluded.  "You are heroes."

After the successful rescue, firefighters and Ernie posed for a thumbs-up photo -- with all of his fingers.

Ernie also wrote his own note: "Dear firefighters. Thank you for rescuing me today. Love, Ernie."

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