GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - He was within moments of dying two weeks ago, but now firefighter Mark Headrick is recovering at home after being crushed at Fire Station 5 in Gulfport.
Headrick nearly died when he was pinned by a fire truck backing into the garage. He still has the scars to show for it.
"I'm taking it day by day," Headrick said. "Waiting for this to heal."
The firefighter underwent 5 1/2 hours of surgery in a New Orleans hospital to repair a broken jaw. Headrick can't eat solid food because of the plates in his face, and there's likely nerve damage.
He also injured his shoulder and suffered a deep cut on the back of his head.
"I knew my jaw was broken because I heard it when the truck squished my head against the brick," Headrick said. "I heard it crunch."
Headrick was in the station when he saw the truck was about to hit the wall, and jumped out to try to flag the driver to stop.
"I didn't even think where the truck was, or where the wall was," Headrick said. "I just knew in an instant, my head was getting crushed against the wall."
Headricks says he wasn't thinking that Feb. 13 could have been his last day.
"I was saying, 'What the heck? What's going on?' You know, get the truck off my head," Headrick said. "And finally, the truck pulled over and I just went over there and stumbled to the ground. I never dreamed that anything like this would have happened. I thought I would have gotten hurt in a fire."
Reaction from tv and social media has been overwhelming, as well support from immediate family and extended family. A thank you posting on Facebook has received thousands of views.
Mark's trip home from New Orleans was greeted with saluting firefighters all along the road.
"We always hear that we are a tight-knit family," Headrick said. "And this proves that we are."
His wife, Brenda, is also left scarred from the ordeal; internally.
"It's one of those phone calls you never want to get," Brenda said. "Especially when your husband is a firefighter."
Headrick doesn't know when he will be able to return to work. But in the meantime, he and his wife say they want to thank everyone who has helped and supported them during his recovery.
Additionally, something else has good has come from the accident.
"It's made Mark and I a lot closer," Brenda said. "We talk a little bit more now. You just realize when you're last close to death that every day is a special day."