Jonathan Metz

In this 2006 family handout photo Jonathan Metz, 31, of West Hartford, Conn., left, stands with Melissa Mowder, 30, of Kinston, N.C., while attending a wedding in New Hampshire. Metz got his arm caught Sunday, June 6, 2010 while working on his furnace boiler in his West Hartford, Conn., home. He was rescued Wednesday, a day after he used his own tools and cut through most of his left arm. (FAMILY HANDOUT PHOTO)

Jonathan Metz had his arm stuck in his furnace boiler for about 12 hours when he asked himself "what would MacGyver do?" and concluded that amputating the limb was his only chance for survival.

The 31-year-old West Hartford man, who was released from the hospital Monday, met with the news media Tuesday for the first time since getting his arm stuck in his furnace for two days and nearly cutting off the limb.

Metz said he when the thought of amputation first crossed his mind he pushed it away, considering every other option and thinking of the 1980s television character who always found a way out of tough situations.

"I definitely dithered for a few hours after coming up with the initial idea," he said. "I thought there must be some other way, so I kind of started looking around my surroundings again. Maybe there was something I missed. You know, what would MacGyver do if he were here?"

He said he spent six hours psyching himself up for the self-amputation.

His fantasy, he said, was that he could cut off the arm, run upstairs and put it in his freezer, call 911, then go to the hospital and get it reattached.

Metz said he first used a hacksaw blade, then used a larger blade, which he hoped would make the operation go smoother. He nearly succeeded, but couldn't make it through a bundle of nerves.

Metz, who lives alone, also revealed Tuesday that the ordeal began after work on Monday, June 7, not the day before, as doctors had previously said.

He had been working around the boiler on his furnace when he dropped either a brush or an attachment to a vacuum and was reaching in to retrieve it when his arm became stuck between the funnel-like fins of the boiler, he said.

When he tried to pull it out, it only tightened on his arm, cutting into it.

Every five minutes, he said, his microwave would beep, telling him the leftovers he had been reheating were ready. He said that tortured him at first, and the then the chirps became a source of strength, telling him he had made it through another five minutes.

Friends grew worried when Metz did not show up for work and missed a softball game.

When Metz did not answer the doorbell at his home Wednesday, June 9, a friend called police, who found Metz in the basement.

Firefighters ripped apart the furnace with heavy tools, including a spreader normally used to take the door off a car. Once they did, the arm just gave way.

The Metz family has set up a website - - to collect donations to help pay for a prosthetic arm.