The guys of the Carmel, IN, Fire Department are quite ripped.

I know this because they came to my rescue yesterday. For those of you who do not live in Indiana (since the Dope is a pretty intelligent message board, i’d wager that’s the majority), Carmel is a town on the north side of Indianapolis which is famous for being rich and somewhat snobby. To what extent the snobby part is true I don’t know, but they are freaking rich. Expensive cars all over the place.

Anyway, I went with my girlfriend’s family to the shopping district of Carmel just to hang around, walk around, and enjoy the wonderful day. Sometime around one, we decided to go to the local Starbucks for refreshments and a restroom break. As was every Starbucks that i’ve been to, the restroom facilities were one person only and both the males and the females in our party had to wait in line. I was the last one to enter the restroom.

I did my business and proceeded to the door. As the lock was the push-button kind which automatically unlocked once the door was pulled from the inside, I just pulled the handle down, heard a click as the button came out, and pulled. The door didn’t budge. I pulled again. No joy. I started shaking the doorknob up and down and rattling the door. Still no luck. I took out my cell phone and called my girlfriend. She didn’t answer and I realized that she probably hadn’t taken her phone off of silent mode from school the previous day (my realization was later proven correct). Half a minute later, my girlfriend jokingly called from the outside, “Are you stuck?” “Looks like it, I replied.”

After a bit of banter, I managed to convey to her that I was indeed stuck in the restroom. She called her mother, who called her father, who told me to climb over the stall door. Once I conveyed to him the nature of my situation, they called the manager, who promptly told me to just swing the handle down and pull. I told her that the idea had previously occurred to me.

The manager then called the local security guy who looked like he was in his early 20’s. At first he wanted to slide me a screwdriver under the door so that I could break the hinges and take the door off, but then he radioed his headquarters and found out that he had no authority to break property. Security was obviously effective there.

So, the fire department was called in. Inside the bathroom, I waited. I politely requested that nobody in the establishment start any fires for the duration of my entrapment. I observed that the walls were the exact same shade of turquoise as my shirt. I told my girlfriend’s mom that I was quite alright and that I had spent more time in the bathroom after eating at the local Mexican establishment. This banter continued for about 20 minutes, bringing my bathroom total up to thirty.

Suddenly, a rough, deep voice asked me to try to get out. I did so with no success. The voice then told me to stand back. Suddenly, the restroom echoed with an extraordinarily loud “bang.” The door didn’t even shiver. This was repeated for about three minutes. Inside, I thought to myself, “Man, when I (BANG) buy a house, I (BANG) want a (BANG) door like this one (BANG) so I’ll (BANG) know that nobody can (BANG) break in.” (BANG). I was quite impressed with the worksmanship. Unbeknowst to me at the time, the firemen on the other side shared my exact same sentiments. At the end of the banging, the door had only just started to budge and I heard another voice say “Hey boys, don’t be afraid to break out the axe.”

And break out the axe they did. The restroom was filled with eardrum-shattering banging and I made sure to stay as far away from the door as possible lest they get too excited with the axe. After another two minutes of banging, the firemen finally started making progress but through no fault of the door. Instead, the frame around the door in which the deadbolt had been stuck started ripping off the wall. Finally, after another thirty seconds, the door exploded inward along with chunks of the frame and three Paul Bunyan-esque figures wearing CFD T-shirts entered. We shook hands and exchanged friendly greetings.

Upon my exit, the biggest of the firemen, who probably stood about 6’4" and had a chest resembling that of an adolescent rhinoceros, pointed to a sign which was taped on the stalwart door. It said something to the effect of “Please do not use this restroom for obvious reasons. The ladies room is good enough for your purposes.” I spent about 10 seconds peering closely at this sign, wondering what significance it had to me, before my girlfriend’s mom explained to him that the sign was taped there while I was stuck inside. It had not occured to me that I was being scolded 5 seconds after my exit. My attention quickly focused on the mocha that the manager gave me for free, the firemen left, and we resumed our weekend outing with much laughter and general good feelings. It was a good day.

Mundane? Kinda. Pointless. Check. Interesting experience? Definitely.

Mmmmm, firefighters.

Um. Yes? You were saying? g

Good story.

Now off I go to the local Starbucks to inspect the rhinoceros-proof doors for the eventual purchase and installation into my own home, should I ever be able to afford same in this ridiculously inflated market. You never know when the jack-booted government thugs are gonna come for you.

And thanks for showing me the correct spelling of ‘rhinoceros’. All this time I thought it was spelled ‘rhinocerous’. It’s always so embbarrissing to mispel a word in such a publick phorum.



Quite scary, I think. But firemen are GOOD! :smiley:

Bloody impressive doors they have at Starbucks, though. How strange to pay up for a really good door just for the lavatory.

Tell me about it.

So, did they ever figure out what happened to the door?

Very cool! I agree you should have gotten pics, though. :slight_smile:

An axe? Holy crap!

Fun afternoon, though, and a good story.

ETA- yes, you should have gotten pics! My parents have a picture on their fridge of the nice firefighter who broke them out of a stranded elevator after my brother’s graduation!

I’ve actually lived there. Never though it would make the headlines.

Well, I doubt that my escapade made headlines, but the people who requested pics are in luck. The GF’s dad shot a few. They’re not exactly great quality as no one was posing but they show the firefighters. The one in the baseball cap was the one that tried to reprimand me. I’m peering nearsightedly at the sign in the last picture. The one working on the door in pics 2, 3, and 4 was the first to greet me.

Photo Album
Album password is Straight Dope. Oh, and I had to look up the spelling for “rhinoceros.” I also mistakenly believed it to end with “ous.”

edit: The pics on the album are in backwards order in the sub album “Carmel.” The 10 year old kid in the last picture was not a firefighter.

I always think that firefighters do a fantastic and usually very dangerous job.
However, I’d be pretty concerned if the CFD had to rescue you from a fire. I always thought they could go through windows, doors and walls in seconds.
See for example this handy little firefighting tool: Firefighter Pry Bar
I find it kind of scary that they took so long to rescue you. I don’t know. Maybe some SDMB firefighter (or someone with similar knowledge) could explain the reason for that lengthy period of time required for opening one door.

Well, I’m pretty sure that at first they were playing with the lock to see if they could save the door. I bet it was expensive and I made it clear to them that i was in no way traumatized. What was scary was that it took them 20 minutes to respond to a call in the town’s shopping center.

I think the reason they were irritated was that a car crash occured as they were trying to get me out.

Well I thought that since there was such severe pounding on the door and eventually an ax was used, something like a pry bar would be much more elegant by comparison.

Still, it’s good everything turned out okay. :slight_smile:

It’s actually called a Halligan tool, and yes, that’s what they most likely used - not an axe. It’s visable in the second of Danja’spictures, hooked together with the axe, but that’s just how they’re easily carried. The two tools together are called The Irons.
It must have been wedged pretty tight if it took more than a few minutes. You stick the end of the tool in the door up by the door handle and pull out - technically the door should open right up, and on flimsy hollow interior house doors, they usually will pop right open. If this was a solid-core door and was wedged tight in the frame, I can see where they might have had some trouble.

Glad everything worked out okay!

  • BiblioCat, EMT/FF

I have no idea what they were actually using and they may indeed have used the Halligan tool and even attempted to pry the door out, but I know that the majority of the time they were banging on it and when they finally broke through to me, it was by pounding on the door until half of the frame facing the bathroom was ripped out of the wall. I don’t remember what exactly they were pounding with though. In any case, the successful procedure was that of loud banging and good testosterone-fuelled fun. It kind of made me want to be a firefighter but as you can see in the pics, I’m too **** skinny.

If the door was shut really tight, they may have had trouble getting the Halligan in correctly.
What usually happens is the end gets stuck in between the door and the frame, and is ‘seated’ in with a few taps from the flat end of the axe head. The you wrench the door open. Like I said, it’s quite effective on flimsy hollow doors, found in most homes, but the Starbucks bathroom door was probably a bit more substantial.
They may have banged the door in getting the Halligan seated correctly; that may have been some of the banging you heard.

Shenanigans! SHENANIGANS! They all have clothes on!

Boom-chicka-chicka pow pow…

Heh, it’d be an even better story if one had pulled out a different “tool” entirely.

Whoa, too much information; it’s killing my fantasy! What is this matter-of-fact dissemination [heh] of knowledge doing in this off-color-titled thread, anyway? Ack!

Yep, this thread definitely didn’t live up to the R or NC-17 rating I had in mind – my dirty, dirty little mind…


Don’t they have Locksmiths in Carmel Indiana?