Eye on the Tropics

Clermont man pinned down by tree thanks first responders who braved storm

CLERMONT, Fla. — Recovery has meant something very different for one of Hurricane Irma's victims.

Cole Pruitt was asleep in his bed in Clermont when a tree came crashing through the roof, pinning him to the bed.

He said he’s been reliving the scene from his hospital bed.

“Just so many things. One after another, after another,” said Pruitt. "I was asleep in my house and a tree fell through the roof and pinned me to my bed."

It’s still hard for Pruitt to believe it all happened.

"I looked at her at one point and was like, ‘I don't want to die,’” he said.

It was his mother, Robin Bennett, who frantically called 911 after finding Pruitt injured and barely able to speak.

"And what happened was something you would never anticipate,” Bennett said. “Dispatcher said, ‘I don't know how to tell you, but I don't know if they can come because of the winds.’"

A crew of Clermont firefighters and officers decided to risk their safety and rush to the home.

"There was a power cord wrapped around the tree. They shut that off and they ran right in there. Big dude just yanked the tree up, yanked me out and that was it,” Pruitt said.

Pruitt needed emergency surgery for a ruptured lung and spleen.






“Those kinds of injuries, if they’re not treated, the patient will die,” said Dr. Karlene Sinclair.

Sinclair was on call, but stuck at home in the storm.

Officers fought the elements again to pick her up.

It was a chain of events that Pruitt credits for his life.

“They don’t have to do that. I’m not their kid,” he said.

His home is still unsafe to live in because the tree that came crashing down is still on the house.

Pruitt and his mom will have to find a new place to stay.

While that's a worry, their focus is making sure Pruitt makes a full recovery.

His family set up a GoFundMe account to help with medical expenses.

Video: Clermont man describes moment tree fell on him as he slept

Len Kiese

Len Kiese

I am extremely excited to call Central Florida home.

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