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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2001

    After 10 yrs it happen, got stuck under a small crawlspace

    HO called and said her washer overflowed and flooded her house. She ask me to check her ductwork, she saw water running down the vents. Ducts at far end of house, away from crawlspace door. Three runs of flex full of water, water everywhere. This was the smallest space I've ever seen. I had a young helper with me. I crawled to the very end, flat on my stomach. I tried to slide out and I was stuck. Im not the fattest guy around, my waist am 36 inches. Next thing I know my heart started beating very fast, breathing rapid and felt panic.
    I never felt this anxiety before. I have crawled lots of crawls, never had a panic attack till today. I felt like the floor had me and was not letting go. I told my helper to grab my legs and pull, and I was unstuck. I did my best stomach crawl to the door. I was in bad shape. I walked around the house and gathered my composure.

    Like falling off a horse, I got back on. Went back in, let the 19 year old skinny helper lead the way and splice in new flex.

    Have any of my fellow techs ever experienced a panic attack under a house?

    Hard day on the job.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Dublin, CA
    I wouldn't say I had a panic attack, but maybe I was in too much pain to be in one.

    Was working in the crawlspace, and this was the 4th day in a row running all new flex duct in a HUGE house. I got a sprain in my chest, in the center of my chest. At first I thought I was having a heart attack. It was like having a cramp, the same pain, and the same reaction (i.e. when you get a cramp in the calf, the instinct reaction is to straighten your leg. In this case, I needed to move my shoulders and upper back "down", sort of like a caveman posture with the slumped shoulders. Not really feasible when under a house.

    Unfortunately I had nobody around to help me. Once I realized it was not a heart attack (or, was the longest heart attack in the world) I slowly, painfully, in complete agony, crawled my way to the exit. I made it out and could not get up, breathe, or move my upper body at all. The homeowner found me laying in pain and offered to call an ambulance. I declined and just asked to send a coworker out to pick me up.

    I did go to ER the next day, and it took 2 weeks before i could walk straight again. It's been a recurring injury since then (about once a year, for 6 years now).

    Probably the scariest experience I had.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Keokuk, IA
    Way to tough it out and go back in.

    I had a panic attack during a swimming workout once. The pool was really warm and wavy that day. I'm a very good competitive swimmer too. Just got this weird sense of mortality i guess you could say.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    VA, USA
    glad to hear that you are doing better Kobe.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Cincinnati, Oh
    I lowered a guy into a chase (from the attic) to seal up some ductwork, during a remodel.

    2 minutes in, he panic'd, and kicked the drywall off the chase and crawled out. After he calmed down, funniest thing I've ever seen.

    I kinda partially panic'd flashing in a roof once. 4 stories up. on a semi-steep roof, where ridge to gutter was only 7'. and it started raining.
    Heart racing, looking up at the clouds, I felt like I was slipping.
    I just grabbed onto the ridge, pulled myself up. sat there for a minute or two, and climbed down the other side (where a balcony was). Forget it. Left the tools on the roof, I'll get to it tomorrow, and pickup my tools from the ground/gutter later.

    It's scary man. Unfortunetly, panic'ing makes it worse.

    36" waist isn't small in our industry! I'm a 40!!
    "Better tell the sandman to stay away, because we're gonna be workin on this one all night."

    "Dude, you need more than 2 wires to a condenser to run a 2 stage heatpump."

    "Just get it done son."

    Dad adjusted

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Yeah... what I 've come to realize, as I grown older... Heights scare me ... well, sometimes.
    I go by jobs, and remember when, I was standing on top of that chimmney, poke in' a flue liner down. Now I think, no way send my apprentice, ... well I got a few more in me...

    BUT really, the older I get, the higher it looks...


    I may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but compared to some I'm a razor...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Ive work alone most of the time but ive had few good ones. Few years back. I went up on a roof to fix some roof jack when i lost my fooding and slid down.. I had nailed some 2x4 to step on but one gave and their i go.. Good thing was i cought my self by the chiminey close call. Wont do it again i refuse to get up on slated roofs.. Second time i was up at an install figured ide get in the back side of the unit to help my guy build a transition out of ductboard. When i come to realize their was no way out. I was stuck. Ended up removing a duct in the way to get out. Simple fix..huh.. Live and Learn.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Northern Wisconsin
    I have two rules about crawlspaces. I don't go in if I can't at least roll over. I don't go in if anything under there can crawl faster than I can.
    Use the biggest hammer you like, pounding a square peg into a round hole does not equal a proper fit.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    I'm 6'4 but stuck too many times but the first time was in the bilges on a navy ship slid in past my rib cage on a pipe and couldn't get out untill the guy poured oil on me.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Upstate SC
    Buddy I know how you feel. This was one of my worst here. I didn't panic, but I have before.
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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Got up on a roof that I shouldn't have and panicked about getting down. It was three stories with one of the straight up and down ladders fastened to the building. The top rung was 2' below the roof and so were the hand rails. I just couldn't step off the roof with nothing to hold on to. Had the service manager bring a safety harness so if I did fall on that first step at least I wouldn't go splat on the concrete. He agred we wouldn't be going back there until an OSHA approved access ladder was installed.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Eugene, Oregon
    That's how water-boarding works.
    I never experienced that type of panic until I almost got stuck. For a short instance, I mean just a couple of seconds, I thought I was stuck under a house. I've never been claustrophobic so the panic I felt was a strange sensation for me. I learned something about myself.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Pacific Northwest
    36" waist? Is it possible that perhaps you're only measuring where you're pants hang? I mean, you might be a 50+ waist, but a size 36 fits when it sags?

    For example, this fellow is also a size 36 waist:

    Also, you mentioned that your "skinny" helper finished the job. That tells me that you need to hit the gym, or something. Maybe hiking when hunting, or walking to work, etc. if you get stuck in normal crawl spaces.

    Just sayin', not trying to be harsh, but that's reality. I am almost 50 years old, and I have never been stuck in a crawl space. And trust me, I have been in every kind of crawl space in my career.

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