Crews were called to the 22000 block of Vermont Street at 11:44 a.m. to assist a 51-year-old woman who had somehow closed herself up inside the back of a U-Haul truck while loading it with her belongings, Capt. Thor Poulsen said.
It was hot out, and the temperature inside the back of the truck had reached more than 120 degrees, he said. In addition, the woman suffers from asthma, bronchitis and claustrophobia, Poulsen said.
"It was kind of a panic situation for her," he said.
Poulsen said it is possible the woman had closed the truck's roll-up rear door in order to give herself more overhead clearance to shift things around inside the vehicle.
When she pulled the door down, however, it came off of its tracks and got stuck in the closed position, with about 12 inches of clearance at the bottom, he said.
The woman wasn't able to squeeze through that space because she was blocked by the items packed into the truck, Poulsen said.
Firefighters arrived and were able to open up the back of the truck within three minutes, Poulsen said. The woman was trapped for about 20 minutes total, he said.
She was given oxygen at the scene but refused further treatment.