What began as a pleasant visit to see his grandparents ended up as a harrowing experience for Dorian Strubing, 2, when his curiosity led him to climb into an antique barrel on May 1.

The climbing in was easy — it was the getting out that caused the problem. When Lance and Kelly Strubing realized they could not pull their son out of the barrel, they loaded him in the car and headed to TriStar Portland Emergency Room.

According to dad, when he called the ER to let the staff know they were on the way with a little boy stuck in a barrel, he said they thought it was a prank call, but when the family showed up with a barrel full of little boy, they knew they had an emergency on their hands.

After checking out the situation, Dorian was sent to get some X-rays to determine the best way to remove him. ER staff called 911 to get some assistance from the county first-responders. The Portland Fire Department and EMS arrived to assist. The nurses gave him a teddy bear to keep him calm.

After studying the X-rays to determine the best solution and meeting with the family, the firemen got busy with a reciprocating saw and were able to remove a portion of the bottom of the barrel. Then they were able to use a combination of screwdrivers, hammers, and a little more cutting to slowly expand the hole, until he could straighten out his legs and slide out the top.

According to PFD Lt. David Chandler, the actual removal of the little boy took about 30 minutes. The firemen were assisted by EMS, hospital staff, and Darian’s dad who helped by holding the barrel and offering other assistance as the firemen used the various tools to safely remove Dorian.

Chandler said, “Several assisted in holding the barrel and the father stayed in the child’s face to keep him from being distracted. This was a once in a career thing we did. It was quite nerve-wracking trying to make sure he was not hurt and wasn’t going to get hurt.”

Dorian’s parents describe him as a child who loves to explore new things and tends to be laid back and easy going. According to his father, he really didn’t panic except when some of the louder noises were going on.

Once Dorian was removed, he said, “He was very excited to be able to move. He hugged Kelly (mother) very tight and gave a hug to Evelyn (grandmother) then we went back to the ER room. Once there he hopped about on the bed for a few minutes until he got a popsicle and sat and ate that. It was absolutely terrifying and frustrating having him right there and not being able to get him out. I have the tools to cut the wood, but not the ability to see inside. Feeling helpless is horrible. It’s absolutely hysterical now though.”

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