Good News Blog

Rescues

Monday, Feb. 25, 2008

Witness Jumps In To Save Victim From Surf

A man was rescued after falling into the ocean south of the Ocean Beach Pier, San Diego lifeguards said Monday.

A woman and two other people heard the man’s cries for help and jumped into the water at the foot of Santa Cruz Avenue and Bacon Street to save him, lifeguards said.

Anna Suzette Eblen said she heard the man’s cries for help and immediately jumped into the water to try and save him, reported 10News.

The victim was apparently climbing on some rocks at about 10:20 p.m. Sunday when he fell in to the chilly water, lifeguards said.

The man was transported to Mercy Hospital for treatment of respiratory problems and hypothermia, authorities said.

Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2007

Observant Driver Rescues Boy From Pit Bull

A boy in Columbus survived a pit bull attack over the weekend thanks to some observant people.

They were driving down the street, and realized the dog and the child weren’t just playing.

They say the dog was chewing the clothes off the boy and was going for his neck so they pulled their car onto the lawn and distracted the dog.

Franklin County Animal Control officers says the pit bull seemed to snap and attack the boy.

Corporal Joe Rock, an Animal Control Officer said “If that hadn’t come along and did what they did that boy could be a lot worse off, if not dead.”

The boy is recovering at a Columbus Hospital.

Friday, Nov. 9, 2007

Driver rescued from railroad tracks moments before train collides

There was no villain with a handlebar mustache. But there was a woman stuck on the railroad tracks with a train bearing down on her.

And her saviors came in the form of an off-duty New York City police officer and her husband, a volunteer fire chief.

In Mineola, New York, authorities say the 63-year-old driver apparently mistook the Long Island Rail Road tracks for a road last night. Her car got stuck on the rails as a train came speeding toward her.

Just seconds before the train smashed into her car, the couple ran over, yanked open the door and pulled the woman out.

Nobody was hurt. But one rescuer says the woman was annoyed the pair had left her pocketbook in the car.

Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2007

Boy dragged two storeys by lift cut out with saw

A 7-year-old boy trapped in a lift in his grandparents’ house had to be freed by firefighters using a chainsaw.

Edward Sclater was at the Mt Maunganui house on Saturday when his arm got stuck between the lift floor and wall as he reached to retrieve a ball.

The lift was the type that has only a platform floor, rather than an enclosed carriage, to move up and down the shaft.

Edward’s forearm became wedged between the floor and the shaft wall as the lift was moving.

It moved up two storeys before it stopped and emergency services could be called.

The 7-year-old’s arm was crushed and he spent a night in hospital recovering but, by yesterday, had feeling back in his fingers.

Miraculously, he suffered no broken bones, although the swelling and bruising were severe.

Edward, of Matamata, was reluctant to talk publicly about his ordeal, but his mother Justine told the Herald that he was anxious to thank the two Fire Service crews who spent 20 minutes freeing him, and particularly the officer who cut a hole in the lift floor with a chainsaw to get him out.

“He really wants to see the fireman,” Mrs Sclater said. “He was really the hero of the day.”

Edward had been returning from an outing to the beach with a neighbour of his grandparents.

The neighbour, a man in his 40s, was in the lift of the grandparents’ May St home when Edward reached to retrieve a volleyball.

It was unclear how his arm became wedged in the small gap between the lift floor and walls, or how the volleyball managed to drop into the shaft.

“It was just an absolute freak accident,” Mrs Sclater said. “I absolutely blame no one for it.”

Four firefighters from Mt Maunganui and a second crew from Tauranga rushed to the house, and initially tried to free Edward by using crowbars and wedges to pry the lift floor back.

When those efforts failed, they used a chainsaw to cut a hole in the platform floor.

“He wasn’t keen on the chainsaw right next to his arm, but he was brave,” Tauranga senior station officer Phil Price said.

Soapy water was then used to free Edward’s crushed arm from the cut-out notch of floor.

Mrs Sclater praised the firefighters and said St John ambulance staff had also been great, ringing yesterday morning to check how her son was doing.

Edward’s stay in the new children’s ward at Tauranga Hospital had also been “more than comfortable”.

She said the incident had been very traumatic for her parents, Irene and Colin Thompson, but had not put her son off his visits. “He thinks his granny and granddad are pretty cool.”

Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2007

Couple’s morning walk turns into rescue mission

A rescue at the Fox River last week might not have been, had Batavia resident Tom Wangler been on time for his morning walk.

Wangler and his wife, Paula Mueller, left just minutes later than normal for their usual Wednesday morning walk a little after 9 a.m. Oct. 24 when they came across a capsized canoe and a man and woman trying to stay afloat in the Fox River near the Batavia Boat Club.

“We asked if they were OK and they didn’t answer,” Wangler said.

Wangler called 911 and then stripped down to his boxer shorts and T-shirt and jumped into the water where he called upon his lifeguard skills he learned as a Boy Scout years ago,

Wangler was nearest to Brittany Trushel, 25, who was treading water in attempt to get to shore. Erik Smolik, 27, was clinging to the canoe.

“They had so much winter clothes on their bodies they couldn’t swim,” Wangler said.

He coached Trushel to fight the cold water and keep kicking.

“I went in up to my knees, coaching her. Then I kept going closer to her until the water got up to my neck. I was able to reach her fingertips and then her arm,” he said.

Soon Wangler was able to pull her to shore.

“That’s when I figured out Eric had given her both life jackets to get to shore,” he said. “I had been yelling at Eric to let go of the boat, that we’d get it later. Then I understood.”

Wangler then went out after Smolik, struggling to keep his footing in the current. He threw a life jacket to Smolik.

“I proceeded to make the worst throw of my life,” he said. “I said, ‘That’s all you get Erik. You’ve got to start swimming.’”

At first, Smolik resisted, saying he couldn’t move his legs, Wangler said.

“I kept coaching him and he finally let go of the canoe and he went for it,” he said.

Wangler told him to keep kicking.

“Sure enough he got to where I could pull him ashore,” he said.

Trushel and Smolik, employees of the Illinois Natural History Survey, a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, had been in the Fox River collecting water samples to evaluate the effects of dam removal on the aquatic insects in the area, said Marcelyn Love, Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman.

“This has been an ongoing project,” Love said.

Both Trushel and Smolik were taken to Delnor-Community Hospital and released.
Wangler refused treatment. Instead, he went home to take a hot shower and went to Starbucks for coffee to warm up before heading to Confident Aire, the heating and air conditioning business he owns in Batavia.

Batavia Deputy Fire Chief Randy Deicke lauds Wangler’s efforts.

“Anytime somebody will get into cold water like that and risk their life to help somebody else, that’s a wonderful thing,” he said.

Deicke said people like Wangler who go above and beyond are often given a citizen’s award. Batavia Fire Department officials believe the Trushel and Smolik had been in the water about 15 minutes.

Wangler credits the rescue to being at the right place at the right time.

“Had we been on time we probably would have waved at them as we went by,” he said. “They would have just been floating by in their canoe. It’s the kind of thing that gives you little tingles on your back. Sometimes it just all works out.”

Man Rescues Neighbor

A former firefighter comes to the rescue of his neighbor following a late night fire, and now he’s being called a hero.

Fire broke out at a home in the 3200 block of Andrea Avenue in Susquehanna Township shortly before 10:30 Monday night.

One neighbor called 911, while others tried to get inside.

Tim Foote, a former captain with the Progress Fire Company, got in through the garage door. Once inside he realized he had another problem.

“Cause I didn’t have a pair of shoes on- trying to clear the path so could get to him, then someone threw me a pair of sneakers, put them on and got him out,” says Foote.

Neighbors have identified the fire victim as Dave Jaus. Foote and other neighbors carried him outside the house when firefighters arrived.

Jaus was listed in critical condition at the Lehigh Valley Hospital on Tuesday afternoon.

The fire marshal says they believe the fire was accidental, and that it started in the living room.

Monday, Oct. 29, 2007

Coast Guard rescues stranded boaters,6-year-old boy

The Coast Guard rescued a 6-year-old boy and four men who went missing in Trinity Bay, Texas Sunday night.

The family had been in-touch with the boaters, but lost contact with them around 9 p.m. Sunday. After losing contact with them, the family called a Texas Parks and Wildlife officer for help.

The officer then contacted a watchstander at Coast Guard Sector Houston/Galveston just before 2 a.m. requesting help to find the boy and men who were stranded in a broken down boat.

The Coast Guard launched a helicopter and rescue boat crew to help in the search. At dawn a second helicopter and rescue boat crew joined the search.

The rescue helicopter crew located the disabled boat with all five onboard in Galveston Bay. The boaters were all found in good condition.

Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2007

New Zealander rescues family from US fires

A family visit turned into a rescue mission for an expatriate Kiwi caught up in the fires in southern California.

Renee Cohen, 29, was on a farewell visit to American relatives near San Diego on Tuesday when she was caught in the fires that have razed hundreds of homes and forced 500,000 people to flee.

Cohen and husband Neil, an American, will return to settle in New Zealand this week after living in Florida for five years.

Cohen said her relatives had decided to evacuate their home in Poway, north of San Diego, and had spent a night preparing to leave.

“We were driving up during the day to see them and the sky was black, like midnight,” she said.

The relatives had to fit their most treasured belongings into a pick-up truck and the Cohens’ car, take their dog and leave their home to its fate.

The news had since been good from the Poway area, with effective firebreaks being established in the hills to stop the flames.

Cohen said smoke had spread to Los Angeles, where the air had a brownish tinge to it “over and above the usual LA smog”.

Cohen, who is expecting her first child, is from Wellington.

California’s insurance commissioner says the fires have probably caused hundreds of millions of dollars of damage to homes and businesses.

“This is just a terrible disaster; it’s going to be one of the worst ever,” California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner said.

The total destruction would easily be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Analysts with Moody’s Economy.com estimated San Diego County will lose $45 million daily from disruptions caused by the fires.

Thursday, Aug. 30, 2007

Men rescued from collapsed trench

Two men accidentally buried up to their torsos in dirt were trapped for three hours Saturday while firefighters dug them out of a caved in trench.

The men became stuck in the nearly three-metre deep hole after dirt they’d piled at its side slid back in, around 3:45 p.m.

“The two were badly pinned, pushed against the wall and finding it very difficult to breathe,” said Toronto fire district chief Stephan Powell.

Three other men helping to dig the trench – in order to waterproof the foundation of one of the men’s homes – escaped unharmed.

Three rescue crews freed the men, who were taken to hospital with bruising to their lower bodies.

This is the second time people had to be rescued from a trench in the last week.

Powell said the public should take precautions with this type of work, like ensuring the hole is large enough and not working alone or else, simply hiring a professional.

Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2007

Hiker rescued from forest after eight-day fast

The revelation was not, perhaps, what he expected.

A Berkeley man who hiked into the Los Padres National Forest to conduct a multi-day fast found himself too emaciated eight days later to hike out and was rescued Tuesday by the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department.

Backpackers who had encountered Gerald Horne 12 miles into the rugged backcountry hiked to the trail head and alerted authorities. Rescue team members were lowered to the hiker via helicopter and then airlifted him out of the forest to a waiting ambulance.

Horne, 38, was transported to Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula.

“He said he was just going out to find himself and get away a little bit and go on a fast,” said Sgt. Joe Moses on Wednesday.

But by day five Horne couldn’t hold down food or water, Moses said.

By the time the backpackers stumbled upon him at Sykes Camp over the weekend, it was clear Horne wasn’t leaving the forest under his own power, Moses added.

“A couple of them came out and said, `This guy needs help,’ ” Moses said. “So we went in and got him.”

Those undertaking extended fasts should seek regular monitoring, including physical examinations and weekly blood tests, according to a Web article by Dr. Elson Haas, founder of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin in San Rafael and author of “Staying Healthy with Nutrition.”

Long fasts may reduce blood protein levels and will drop blood fat levels, Elson wrote. They can also spike uric acid levels as the body scavenges protein, resulting in painful joint inflammation and potential kidney damage.

Friday, Aug. 24, 2007

Elderly woman rescued from burning house

The Delaware State Fire Marshal’s office is investigating a house fire that broke out last night in Magnolia and critically injured an elderly woman.

The blaze, reported shortly before 10:30 p.m., occurred in the 100 block of Dogwood Drive off Irish Hill Road, Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Michael G. Chionchio said.

When the Magnolia Fire Company arrived on the scene they saw flames shooting from the one-story house and discovered one person was trapped inside.

Chionchio said firefighters were able to rescue the woman from the burning house.

State fire investigators remained on the scene into the morning as they continued searching for the fire’s origin and cause.

“The 87-year-old female was transported to the Christiana Hospital and has been admitted in critical condition,” Chionchio said. “Two other residents were taken to the Kent General Hospital for treatment.”

One firefighter was also being treated at the Kent General Hospital for burns.

While Chionchio said the home sustained heavy damage a monetary estimate on the loss is not yet known.

Thursday, Aug. 23, 2007

Mineola Woman Hoping To Reunite With Her “Angel”

A day on the lake is usually synonymous with family fun. But the tide began to turn for Rachel Hohensee when the floatie they brought with them starting drifting away.

“I went and got it, brought it back. Started playing with it again. Next thing I knew it was back where it was,” says Rachel.

So she began swimming after it again. It appeared to be just a few feet away.

“I was like well I can swim that far it was no big deal.”

But little did Rachel know that as she was swimming closer and closer to the floatie it was sailing further and further away from her.

Next thing she knew she was beyond the bowie in the water and she knew she was in a danger zone.

“A little bit before she started screaming, she turned and looked and you could see desperation [in her face]. Like ‘I’m not going to make it’, just the look on her face,” Rachel’s husband Ronnie describes.

Rachel adds, “I kept telling myself that same thing over and over, surely someone could hear me. Just a few more seconds, someone’s got to get here. But I didn’t know anyone was coming until he was actually to me.”

The “he” Rachel is referring to was a total stranger who jumped out of his raft to save her.

“But after just a few seconds he said, ‘I’m fixin to drown. I can’t stay up.’ And I looked back and there was no one close enough and he said ‘Hold on just a minute stay here I’ll be right back,'” says Rachel.

“He went further to get the floatie. He reached out and grabbed it and flung it behind him and it just happened to go right to her,” says Ronnie.

Then more help would arrive. Rachel would get the first name of the man who saved her life, Chris. But she says there’s so much more she didn’t get to say.

“Thank you so much. The fact that he risked his life to save my life… he’s a hero. He may not feel like it but he is.”

Ronnie adds, “My heart goes out to this kid there is no words for it.”

If Chris is watching, Rachel is hoping to get in contact with him again. A reunion that would be the perfect end to what could have been a tragic story.

Again, Rachel was rescued on June 19th on Lake Holbrook. The incident happened late in the afternoon that day. Rachel believes Chris was about 19-24 years old.

Monday, Aug. 20, 2007

Neighbor Rescues Family From Fire

A good neighbor is being hailed as a hero after a fire broke out next door displacing its six adult residents.

Mike Owens was awaken at around 3:00 a.m. Sunday night in his Poolesville home on the 19,00 block of Gott Street by loud popping sounds. When he looked outside he saw a fire burning the back of his neighbor’s two story, single family home.

Montgomery County Firefighters say Owens immediately called 911 and then went over to his neighbor’s house to alert the family. Owens was able to enter the family’s home through an unlocked door and rescued their pet dog. Firefighters called his actions potentially life-saving.

Investigators believe the fire originated accidently near a deck that holds electrical services for the family’s pool and that a natural gas meter apparently became involved and fed the fire.

Firefighters say several family members also were smokers and used the deck area to smoke. The exact cause remains under investigation and the damage cause by the fire is estimated at $485,000.

Friday, Aug. 17, 2007

Disabled man searches for Good Samaritan who rescued him

A Santa Barbara man survives a fall down a steep cliff.

Now, he wants to find the man who helped rescue him.

Tuesday night, he was driving east near Camino Cielo when he hit the gravel and plummeted down the cliff.

Victor’s prosthetic leg came off and he was unable to climb up the near 150 foot hill.

Victor had to wait until morning to flag someone down.

That man helped Victor and called 911, waiting for emergency crews to arrive.

“His name is Ernie and I would really like to find Ernie. He disappeared from the scene and I would really like to find him. Had he not found me, I don’t think I would have made it,” said victim James Victor.

Victor still has numerous cuts and bruises, but is just thankful that he is alive.

Neighbors rescue man from fire

AN Allonby man’s decision to have an early night saved the life of an elderly neighbour.

Matthew Glencross, 20, of The Square, Allonby, returned home from a night out at Cockermouth at about midnight on Friday to find smoke billowing from the home of 84-year-old John Wilson next door.

Mr Glencross woke his father, who had a key to Mr Wilson’s house, and the two men rushed to save their neighbour.

“We didn’t see any flames,” Mr Glencross said, but added that it was impossible to see anything through dense smoke.

Mr Wilson, who has lived in the same house all his life, tried to flee the house when a smoke detector was activated late on Friday night but was unable to find the front door through the smoke. He was trapped inside until his neighbours arrived to lead him to safety.

Matthew’s father, who declined to give his name and denied suggestions that their actions were heroic, said he and Matthew had not done anything that any other good neighbour would not do.

He said that Mr Wilson was lucky Matthew had returned home from Cockermouth early.

Mr Wilson used his Careline system to alert the service that he was in trouble.

“He’s usually a lot later than midnight,” he added.

He said the fire seemed to have started in a kitchenette and the damage, apart from smoke damage, was largely confined to that part of the house.

“At no time did we see any flames, nor do we know how the fire started,” he said.

Mr Wilson was given oxygen at the scene and admitted to the cardiac unit at the West Cumberland Hospital, Whitehaven.

He was later moved to a general ward and Mr Glencross said he was expected to complete his recovery at Maryport’s community hospital.

Joe Little, Workington group manager for Cumbria fire service, said: “This man suffered severe smoke inhalation and had to be given first aid. He is lucky to be alive.

“If it had not been for the brave actions of his neighbours, the outcome could have been totally different.”

A collection of Mr Wilson’s toy cars was blackened by the smoke but Mr Glencross said he thought they would clean up.

Passer-by rescues boy, dog from house fire

ELYRIA — Fire crews spent more than an hour Monday afternoon dousing the flames that consumed a home on West River Road.

The fire started in the rear of 305 West River Road N., according to neighbors who watched as fire crews cycled in and out of the house to gain control of the blaze.

William Worcester, 35, was driving back to his home in Lorain from LaGrange on West River Road, just before 3 p.m. when he noticed the house was on fire.

“As soon as I saw the flames, I pulled over into a driveway and ran over to the house to make sure no one was inside,” Worcester said. “I banged on the front door and then looked around the back where the fire was. When I came back to the front door, there was a boy who was around 12 or 13 years old standing in the front window.”

Worcester said he pushed the front door open and grabbed the kid and a dog from inside the house and took them both outside.

“It wasn’t anything spectacular. All I did was help get the front door open because there was something blocking it on the other side and then I helped the kid and his dog get out,” Worcester said. “The kid said there wasn’t anyone else in the house and the rest of the house didn’t really start burning for another 15 minutes or so.”

Neighbors said the boy lived at the house with the owner, Dave Long, who was at a neighbor’s house when the fire started. As he watched fire crews spray down his home, Long said he did not know how the fire started and that he did not want to answer any other questions.

Elyria fire officials said what caused the fire was not known. No one was injured, and the homeowner had insurance, fire officials said.

The fire caused severe damage to the home’s interior on both the first and second floors and fire crews were forced to break out windows to fight it.

Neighbors from nearby streets walked toward the house and watched as smoke plumed out of the upstairs windows.

“I was in my living room just down the street when I smelled the smoke,” said Nate Rolls, who also lives on West River Road. “When I looked outside, you could see the smoke going way up in the air and flames coming out of the windows.”

Thursday, Aug. 16, 2007

Lost kayaker rescued after 50-mile journey

A Coral Springs man who went adrift in his kayak off the shores of Fort Lauderdale washed up Monday morning unharmed at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Beach Club.

Curtiss Shupe, 37, told rescuers he started his 50-mile journey just south of Broward Boulevard at noon Sunday.

He said he got caught in strong currents and could not get back to shore in Broward County. He also said he became tired and decided to go with the current until it lessened before attempting to paddle back to land.

When it grew dark, Shupe was unsure of his location and he made the decision to continue with the current until morning.

At about 8 a.m. Monday, he spotted a worker at Mar-a-Lago and asked for assistance. The worker alerted a security officer at the club who contacted Palm Beach Fire-Rescue.

Shupe remained conscious and alert, but did not realize he had drifted as far north as Palm Beach.

According to Palm Beach Fire-Rescue, he had a supply of water with him and was wearing a life jacket the entire time. He said he had left his cell phone in his truck before getting into his kayak.

Rescuers gave him fluids and took him to Good Samaritan Medical Center as a precaution. He was released Monday afternoon.

Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2007

They’re miracle men

They checked hampers, even the microwave and the freezer.

As minutes ticked by like hours, the five firefighters and two paramedics couldn’t find any trace of a baby believed to have been delivered not long ago in the West Side three-flat.

“You play hide-and-seek as a child but you never think it would be like this,” said one of the paramedics, Angelo Tsokolas. “I just kept thinking, where can you hide a baby?”

Finally, 15 minutes into the Wednesday night search, firefighter Christopher Tolbert opened yet another closet, tossed clothes aside and started going through plastic bags. He picked up a knotted black trash bag, ripped it open and caught a glimpse of an umbilical cord.

“I was shocked to see that, and I turned it over to the paramedics.”

Paramedic Gregg Bagdade immediately reached into the bag and saw a baby boy, purple but warm, lying on a towel.

Bagdade laid the baby on the bed and saw he wasn’t breathing. So he scooped the boy up and, while walking downstairs to the ambulance, breathed into the baby’s mouth until the boy opened his dark brown eyes and began to turn pink and cry.

“I was pretty confident once we turned him over that he would make it,” said Bagdade, who has an 11-month-old son.

“The baby opened his eyes, peeked around, and that’s when I noticed that he had a good head of dark hair,” Tsokolas added.

The baby was whisked to a hospital, where officials said he was doing fine Thursday night.

Bagdade said his colleagues “do miraculous things every day. This is just one such thing.”

Authorities believe a 23-year-old woman gave birth to the boy Wednesday evening, just hours earlier, in her home in the 4900 block of West Cortez. The woman’s mother came home, found her daughter bleeding and called for an ambulance. She apparently did not know her daughter had been pregnant.

An examination at Mount Sinai Hospital determined the daughter had given birth. “She refused to tell what she had done with the baby or it it was born alive,” said Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford.

A crew was sent back to the home to look for the baby. Fire officials believe there was enough air left in the knotted bag to allow the baby to survive.

“His color and condition indicated that he would have been dead in a very short time,” Langford said.

The woman and her mother were being questioned Thursday night.

Neighbors on Cortez said the woman has two other young children and lived with her mother. “She was an average, normal young lady,” said neighbor Tony Stewart, 48.

“This was really tragic,” said another neighbor, Rudolph Griffin, 28. “I hope God is with her. And I give them all my blessings.”

Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2007

Sharp-Eyed Woman Helps Rescue Sailors

It’s not every day that a woman in her eighties helps with a lake rescue.

Her name is Gladys Owens, but everyone knows her as Cookie.

She’s 86 years old.

And today, she’s the talk of her retirement home. The building is on the 3100 block of North Sheridan Road, overlooking Belmont Harbor.

“I’m looking straight out at the lake and I’m on the 14th floor and I saw a little, very small boat, and it was very rough water and it looked like there was two men in the water,” Owens told WBBM, describing yesterday’s (Thursday’s) events.

That sent her scrambling for her binoculars.

“Well, yes, when I moved in here my son said everybody in a high-rise should have binoculars,” she said with a chuckle.

Sure enough, she saw through the binoculars what she thought she saw. It was a small sailboat.

“But there was no one out there to come and give them any aid.”

So she called 911.

But the Coast Guard couldn’t find the boat on the rough lake, so they called her back.

WBBM: “So you’ve got binoculars in one hand and a telephone in the other hand..”

Owens: “Yes.”

WBBM: “…and you’re guiding them to the boat.”

Owens: “Yes.”

They found the boat and helped the sailors and called back to say “thanks Mrs. Owens.”

Police officer rescues woman from burning house

SYLACAUGA — Donna Evans thought she could put out what started as a small fire in her daughter’s bedroom, but the fire quickly escalated and she was trapped.

Evans was unable to escape the smoke and fire, until police officer Stephen Ledbetter made it to the bedroom and led her out of her home at 213 Lee Drive early the morning of June 5.

Ledbetter was several blocks over from the home when he heard the call on his patrol car radio about the fire.

When he arrived at the end of Lee Street, he could see an orange glow coming from a window in the house.

As he got to the house, he saw a young woman outside with a garden hose she was trying to put through the window.

“I asked her if anyone else was inside the home. She told me her mother was,” Ledbetter said.

He went through the front door to the bedroom.

“There was smoke everywhere. I had to get down lower than the smoke. When I got to the bedroom, I saw the mother. I saw fire all around her and smoke. I told her to get out of the house. I helped her make it to the front porch,” Ledbetter said.

Evans said she went to bed about 30 minutes before the fire started, which was shortly after 1:30 a.m.

“My daughter left a candle burning in her bedroom. Somehow the candle got knocked over and a pillow caught fire. My daughter woke up and came to my bedroom to tell me there was a fire,” Evans said.

She tried to put out the fire with a pot of water, then attempted to beat it out. It just got worse.

Her daughter had called 911, but in the meantime she went outside to get a hose and was putting it through the window when Ledbetter arrived.

“He came to the bedroom and told me to get out. I said, ‘I can’t find out,’” Evans said. “He helped me get to the porch. I could hear officer Donnie Landers outside, too.”

Evans suffered smoke inhalation, while her daughter, Jennifer, had some burns, including on her feet where she stepped on her purse that was on fire.

“It was an awful feeling. My daughter, who is a heavy sleeper, woke up prior to the fire getting out of hand. That was an act of God,” Evans said.

The mother and daughter stayed most of the day at Coosa Valley Medical Center, where they were taken by Sylacauga Ambulance Service.

Evans, who works for a local hospice, worked many years in the emergency room at the hospital. She knows several police officers who worked the late shift through the years, including Landers. She also knew Lt. Chuck Baker, one of the firefighters on the scene in the early morning hours of June 5.

“Chuck told me I had a license to be a nurse, but not a firefighter,” she said.

Fire Chief Tommy Abrams said the call about the house fire came into the Fire Department at 1:43 a.m. Baker was the supervisor on duty at the time of the fire. The first truck arrived at the scene at 1:46 a.m.

“Seven firefighters responded to the fire. Mrs. Evans and her daughter did receive some injuries. The bedroom sustained heavy damage and the house had heavy smoke and some moderate damage,” he said.

“It is my understanding officer Ledbetter entered the residence that was filled with smoke and fire, escorting Mrs. Evans out of the house. The ambulance service took her and her daughter to the hospital,” Abrams said.

Evans rents the house from Gail Smith, according to the Fire Department report, Abrams said.

Evans said Ledbetter paid her a visit at the hospital to check on her.

Police Chief Louis Zook said he will recommend Ledbetter for special recognition for his act of bravery in leading Evans to safety.

Ledbetter has been an officer with the Sylacauga Police Department for less than two years.

Friday, Aug. 10, 2007

Boy, 7, rescued from pool

A 7-year-old boy is expected to live after he was rescued Wednesday afternoon from the bottom of a swimming pool at the Foxwood Manor Apartments complex on New Rodgers Road in Middletown.

According to witnesses and police, the boy’s father dropped him off at the pool and left. The pool’s two lifeguards and witnesses said they first saw the boy in the shallow section, holding onto the sides.

Then, a few minutes later, residents Chey Brody, 15, and Tracey Robinson, 20, who were sitting by the pool, saw the child floating toward the bottom of the pool where it is 9 feet deep.

“He kept on floating down and more down,” Robinson said.

Robinson said to neighbor Mark Solley, “I don’t think he’s supposed to be down there that long.”

Solley dived in the water and rescued the boy, whose body was limp.

Another man, whom Solley only identified as having an eyebrow ring, began to administer CPR. One of the lifeguards found a pulse, Solley said.

After chest compressions, the boy coughed up his lunch and lots of water, Solley said. His eyes began to open and then he moaned, witnesses said.

By then, the Penndel-Middletown emergency squad had arrived. And the boy’s father appeared, screaming. He hopped into the ambulance right before the vehicle rushed the boy, with the help of police blocking intersections, to St. Mary Medical Center in Middletown.

Robinson said the lifeguards at the pool weren’t paying attention.

“One was in the pool doing exercises and the other was just sitting there,” she said.

However, Solley, who rescued the boy, said the boy wasn’t the lifeguards’ responsibility. The boy’s father should have watched his son, because the rule is that children under 13 cannot be left unsupervised, Solley said.

“It wasn’t their fault. It was the father’s fault,” Solley said.

The lifeguards declined to comment. They are employed by American Pool Management, based in Montgomeryville.

The Middletown Police Department is still investigating the situation, said Sgt. Mark Wert.

“The lifeguards are not babysitters. They’re here to help if there is an emergency,” Wert said. “The father is ultimately responsible.”

Wert said the boy is going to be OK.

Woman, 78, rescued after 2 days in bush

A 78-year-old woman lost in the bush north of Winnipeg for two days is expected to make a full recovery after battling a ferocious storm and swarms of mosquitos, RCMP said today.

“She’s in excellent shape and expected to make a full recovery,” RCMP spokesman Cpl. Chris Ballard said.

The elderly woman, last seen by family on Friday, was found last night by searchers in a bushy area near her Thalberg, Manitoba home,

Her family reported her missing to Grand Marais RCMP early Sunday afternoon. The last they knew she had driven from her isolated home to visit a friend in nearby Beausejour. Thalberg is about 40 kilometres north of Beausejour on Hwy. 12.

RCMP immediately launched a search and at 6:40 p.m. found her vehicle in a bush area two kilometres from her residence. She was not with her vehicle.

RCMP search and rescue team, the Office of the Fire Commissioner, and the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association were contacted to participate in an air and ground search.

At 10:15 p.m. the woman was located by a police dog, and search and rescue team in the bush approximately 2.5 kilometres from her vehicle.

She was conscious and able to speak with her rescuers. She was taken to Beausejour hospital by ambulance.

Ballard said it appears on returning from Beausejour the woman drove past her home and got stuck in mud. She left the car in attempt to get back to her house, but became disoriented.

Ballard said she had no food and only rainwater to drink. She was outside for all of Saturday night, in which a thunderstorm blew through the area, and tornados were spotted just a few kilometres southeast of her location.

Thursday, Aug. 9, 2007

Mother and son rescue five people from flooded cars

A total of five people were rescued from their cars by two heroes that turned out to be a mother and her son.

The first rescue happened on July 31 at the wash near Glenn St. and Wilson Ave. Sharron Carl and her caretaker came across the wash and started to drive through. That’s when their white Cadillac stalled and started floating backwards. 16 year old Kevin Mangham saw the car, bolted to the wash and tossed an 8 foot rope to the two, saving their lives.

Then, one week later on August 6, another storm ripped through Tucson. The same wash at Glenn and Wilson became flooded. This time, a mom and her two children were trapped. That’s when Kevin Mangham’s mother saw the car and rushed to the family’s rescue.

Stephanie Dayton takes a walk with her son Kevin Mangham, right through a wash that was once flooded and running. It’s right next to their home.

Kevin describes the car he found on July 31: “It got totally swept down by that water.” He was 16 at the time and knew they needed help. “The water was in over their heads. There was no way we could have left them in that car for much longer.”

He and two other men jumped in and pulled the couple out. Then, days later, Stephanie does the same thing.

Inside the car were a mom and her two kids. “I think she went this way but it turns, remember it’s slowly turning, I am running alongside and shouting to her, ‘Get your windows down! Get your seat belt off!”

And it worked. “I was afraid when she passed me… The children, I was terribly afraid of them passing through my hands. The water was running very fast.”

The water gets especially high here because there’s really no where for it go except through a very narrow tunnel.

And the water was deep, as Kevin recalled, “Maybe here, high thigh something like that.” For Stephanie it was, “Pretty much neck level.”

No doubt it was risky, but worth it, Kevin said, “I just did what I thought was right.”

Heroism credited for rescue of 40 festivalgoers

WASHINGTON – Neighbors and rescue personnel threw children out of the path of a speeding car that plowed through a crowded street festival, preventing more serious injuries than the 40 people struck, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty said Sunday.

A 4-year-old boy with a broken leg was the only person still hospitalized a day after a woman’s car sent people and strollers flying, leaving debris and injured bodies strewn in her wake.

“I can’t believe that we’re actually saying that, right now, everyone is going to pull through,” Fenty said. He credited “some unbelievable heroism” by citizens and rescuers.

Authorities believe the driver, Tonya Bell of Oxon Hill, Md., was going about 70 mph when she tore through Unifest, a church-sponsored street festival in southeast Washington.

Bell was treated for an ankle injury and was in police custody pending arraignment Monday, police said. She was preliminarily charged with aggravated assault while armed. The “armed” designation is because she used a vehicle.

Marcellus Jackson’s father saved the boy’s life by throwing him out of the way of the speeding car, Fenty said. The father, Vincent Hayes, was then hit by the speeding car head-on but was OK.

“The car just passed so fast, and all of a sudden I just heard people screaming,” said the boy’s mother, Denise Jackson. “I turned around, and it was like bodies falling out of the sky.”

The boy was expected to be discharged today, said Emily Dammeyer, a spokeswoman at Children’s National Medical Center.

Some questioned why Bell was not stopped after she was seen driving erratically and striking an unmarked police cruiser 20 minutes before the rampage. Police Cmdr. Patrick Burke said officers had followed Bell’s 1991 Volvo, but were told to stop because the traffic violation did not pose a threat to officers. They responded after people were struck.

Officials were still waiting for toxicology results, but Burke confirmed that some witnesses said Bell may have been smoking something and laughing as she drove through the crowd.

Bell had a 7-year-old girl in the car with her whose identity wasn’t released. The child was not injured and was taken by Child Protective Services.

Burke said additional charges expected Monday would likely include assault on a police officer while armed. Two police officers working at the festival were thrown off their motor scooters when they drove in front of the car in an attempt to stop it. They suffered minor injuries.

Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2007

Teens Rescue 2 Kids From Apartment Fire

A 14-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl Friday ran into a burning second-floor apartment in Long Beach and rescued two children, authorities said.

The non-injury fire broke out at 12:22 a.m. in a second-floor apartment in the 400 block of East 55th Street in North Long Beach, said Long Beach Fire Battalion Chief Moe Sinsley.

Neighbors were sitting on the steps of the two-story, garden-style apartment complex when they heard someone say there was a fire.

“We were sitting on the steps, just laughing and talking, and we saw one of the babies running up and down the stairs, not saying anything,” said Jeremy Oats, 14, one of the teens who rescued the children. He was referring to a 5-year-old boy who lived in the apartment.

“Someone said, ‘Oh, there’s a fire,’ and we just got up and ran inside,” he said.

He and 16-year-old Shaquita Thomas ran inside and saw flames in a room on the right side of the apartment, he said.

Oats retrieved a 3-year-old boy who was asleep on the living room floor, Thomas picked up a 1-year-old boy, and they all ran out of the apartment, Sinsley said, adding that the 5-year-old ran out on his own, he said.

The children’s 24-year-old mother was asleep in one of the rooms at the time, but she also got out safely, he said.

The cause of the fire was under investigation, Sisley said.

Deputy, firefighter make amazing rescue

A Charlotte County man was badly burned but is still alive thanks to an amazing rescue by a Charlotte County Deputy and a fire chief who risked their own lives to save the life of a driver inside a burning van.

Detective Robert Conant was heading to work Monday morning when something on the radio caught his attention.

“A deputy just called it in on the radio an accident at the intersection I was approaching,” said Conant. “Honestly, it was just being in the right place at the right time.”

When he pulled up to the intersection of SR776 and Oriole Boulevard, he saw a van lying on its side.

“Passenger side up, driver side down and I could see dark black smoke pouring out the top,” said Conant.

Without thinking twice about his own safety, Conant headed straight for the burning van.

“When I found out there was somebody in it, it was just time to get him out,” said Conant.

The detective worked along with a fire chief who was already on the scene to rescue 81-year-old Hubert Wills. But saving him wasn’t easy

“A passerby gave us a lug wrench from her car and the chief took that and we were able to get the windshield finally broken out and pulled away. All the smoke came out so it was so thick I couldn’t see the guy. So I was yelling, ‘Give me your hands!'” said Conant.

But his hands were too badly burned to touch.

“I grabbed his suspenders and started pulling him out. Then the suspenders pulled off,” said Conant.

Conant and the chief managed to pull Wills out by his pants just in time.

“When I looked back at the vehicle, then you could see flames,” said Conant.

Conant said it was only then that he realized how dangerous the situation was.

“When we were trying to get him out, that’s the only thing you think of – just trying to get the person out alive,” said Conant.

While he’s never had to make a rescue like that before, Conant says it’s just part of the job.

“You just try to help people out when they need it and that man needed it. He needed it badly and luckily we were able to help him,” said Conant..

Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2007

Passers-by Rescue Residents of Burning Building

Residents of a burning Bellevue building are calling passers-by “heroes” because they helped them get out in time, early Tuesday morning.

Only two people suffered minor injuries in the the fire at Poplar and Foote streets in Bellevue.

Just after the fire broke out, around 3 a.m., flames could be seen for several blocks as it started to break out windows in the building’s second floor apartments.

The two-story wood frame building has the “All Occasions Beauty Salon” in the first floor store front with apartments above. It appears the fire started either in those apartments or the roof.

Eventually, the fire caused large parts of the roof to cave into the second floor hallways and apartments.

Fortunately, passers-by spotted the smoke and then the flames and started banging on doors and windows to wake the residents up.

The owner of the building and the beauty salon, Barbara Wooding, lived in one of those upstairs apartments. She credits those passersby with saving her life and the lives of the three grandchildren who live with her. Wooding tells 9News, “By the time the young boys got there, there was already a lot of smoke. I have 13 interconnected smoke detectors in the building and they didn’t go off.”

Asked if the passersby were heroes, Wooding says, “Yes. Oh, yeah, saved our lives, absolutely.”

Wooding says she and another resident suffered slight burns and scrapes, when the fire suddenly exploded as they were escaping. But she says those injuries were minor enough that all they needed were treatment at the scene.

One of the rescuers, Darryl Wynn, tells 9News, that he was just driving by the building and saw the smoke. He circled back around and he and his friend started knocking on doors and windows to get residents up and out of the building. Wynn says even as smoke started to build up, he ran inside and up to the 2nd floor to warn residents, some of whom didn’t believe the building was on fire.

Now, Bellevue firefighters are starting the difficult task of searching for a cause for this fire that’s left at least 2 families homeless.

Wooding tells us she’s called this building home for the last 30 years. Now, she and her family are looking to try to start their lives over again. The American Red Cross has already been on the scene to help Wooding and her tenants find alternative housing.

Wooding says she recently paid up all her insurance premiums, so she’s hoping that will provide enough money to rebuild or restart her business and find a new home.

Girl receives honor for woman’s rescue

Kalleigh K. Martin heard the cries when Valerie L. Gilchrist found herself alone and in trouble.

Gilchrist, 61, had fallen down the steps in her Zilwaukee garage, landing face down. Her arm was immobilized by pain, her cell phone stuck in an unreachable pocket and the garage door down.

The 8-year-old next door came to the rescue. Kalleigh crawled through the home’s doggie door, made her way to the garage and helped Gilchrist alert neighbors, who called an ambulance. Doctors at St. Mary’s of Michigan hospital told Gilchrist she had dislocated and fractured her shoulder.

The girl received recognition for her aid in the June incident at Monday’s Zilwaukee City Council meeting. More than 30 people watched as Mayor Eugene C. Jolin gave the youth two plaques.

“She’s very quick, and she held her cool,” Jolin said. “She did all this hard labor, so we thought she deserved this award.”

“She was such a brave little girl,” Gilchrist said.

Kalleigh describes Gilchrist as “fun, playful and not mean.”

“I heard her calling my name, and I thought, ‘What’s going on?’ ” said Kalleigh, the daughter of Rob L. and Kristine K. Martin of Zilwaukee.

Kalleigh’s mother said Gilchrist and her daughter are close.

“She’s over there almost every day,” Martin said. “I’m so proud of her. It’s almost like God told her what to do.”

Tuesday, Jul. 31, 2007

Fire strikes apartment complex; all residents rescued

Chester Cooper Junior was in his mother’s apartment on the first floor when police say he started the fire. His mother, also in the apartment, is wheelchair bound.

The flames worked fast and hard, moving quickly to the second floor where a pregnant mother and her two children were trapped. Cassidy Doig was just one of three that went to the rescue of the family on the second floor.

“I told them you have to drop the kids because you can’t go down the stairs,” Woodsboro Apartments resident Cassidy Doig said.

For Claire Mosher, great grandmother to the toddlers, she is more than grateful for what her neighbors did.

“Thank you! I don’t know what else to say except thank you for everything,” Mosher said.

It was this window that you’re looking at right now that the children were tossed from—about 12 to 25 feet. But Doig said in the heat of the moment, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.

“Theres no thinking about it. I just said, ‘Drop your kid.’ And later, I came back and apologized. I said, ‘Just drop her!’ because you have to. There’s a life on the line,” Doig said.

Cooper was arraigned in the Town of Lysander Court. He was charged with second degree arson, a Class B felony.

Police have not said how they believe Cooper set the fire. The American Red Cross is aiding in housing residents that were put out of their homes because of the fire.

Little Angel saves grandmother while swimming

Barbara Pierce has long thought of her granddaughter Samantha Hebb as her little angel.

When they were swimming together one day, Pierce found out she was right. Ten-year-old Samantha was indeed an angel — a guardian angel.

While visiting her grandmother at her house in Lebanon, Maine, this summer, Samantha went swimming at a local pond nearby. Pierce lost her grip on an inflatable noodle float, and her head slipped under the water again and again.

The fourth time she went under she was submerged in water 10 feet deep — and running out of energy.

Just when things were looking dire, she felt a hand grab her wrist and pull her to safety. Samantha had saved her grandmother’s life.

“I took her wrist and sidestroked to shore,” Samantha said. “I started panicking at first. I was afraid I was going to lose one of my best friends.”

The feelings of panic didn’t last long, however, as Samantha looked more like a seasoned lifeguard than a girl who just learned how to swim last year.

In recognition of her bravery, members of the Lebanon Rescue Department presented Samantha, who lives in Haverhill, with a Heroism Award at a ceremony in her honor last week. With family and friends in attendance, along with Maine state representatives and the entire Lebanon rescue and fire departments, Samantha received an engraved granite plaque.

“I was very excited about the ceremony,” Samantha said. “This was a special time for me.”

While Samantha was excited, her grandmother, 65, was ecstatic.

“This whole thing is so overwhelming that I can’t believe it all happened,” Pierce said. “I always called her my little angel, but now she really is. We had quite a celebration for her, and she deserves it. She saved my life.”

She’s been spending several days a week this summer at her grandmother’s home in Lebanon — where she learned how to swim last year. It is a good thing she did, said her mother, Georgia Bailey, 42, of Haverhill.

When the pressure was on, Samantha acted beyond her years and without concern for her own safety.

“I am proud and impressed by the way she handled the whole situation,” her mother said. “She is strong enough to keep her cool in a situation like that and come through. It was unbelievable.”

Samantha is a member of Girls Incorporated, Haverhill’s version of the Girls Club. She will enter fifth grade at Bradford Elementary School in the fall.

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