Good News Blog


Monday, Jul. 30, 2007

Martial arts expert rescues schoolgirl

A HAVE-A-GO hero has revealed how he helped rescue a 13-year-old girl who was the victim of an alleged sex attack at a busy Newcastle (UK) bus station.

Martial arts expert Andrew Newton, 20, said he was alerted to the incident when he heard the youngster’s screams.

He explained: “I was just standing there waiting for a bus when I heard screaming.

“At first I thought it was just people mucking about then I turned and saw this man on top of what was obviously a young girl.”

Andrew claimed: “I ran towards him and dragged him off and then used one of the martial arts moves I learned at my club to restrain him.

“I was taking him to the ground when suddenly several other men joined in and helped me get him down and pin him to the floor.”

After telling the others how to keep him restrained by sitting on his legs and controlling his head, Andrew phoned the police.

Andrew — an assistant instructor in the modern mixed-martial art Directional Fighting Method at Newcastle College — said: “If it wasn’t for my martial arts experience I might not have had the confidence to help.

“But it wasn’t just me . . . it was amazing so many others were willing to get involved.”

Amazing Rescue in Greene County to Save a Boy’s Life

A dramatic rescue, after a 12-year-old boy takes a fierce fall while hiking with his family.

A rescue chopper assisted crews in hoisting the injured boy from the Kaaterskill Falls, after he went tumbling down a cliff Sunday afternoon. He was airlifted by MedFlight to Albany Medical Center, where we are told the boy remains in serious condition Monday.

NEWS10’s Demetra Ganias has more on how the rescue unfolded.

It was an amazing scene in Greene County, as a helicopter lifted the 12-year-old out of the Kaaterskill Falls in a basket. The Department of Environmental Conservation tells us the boy fell at least 60-feet, then rolled and tumbled on the rocky bottom.

“There was a family of five hiking the Kaaterskill Falls trail, from Route 23A to the falls, which is about a half-a-mile in length,” says Lieutenant Darryl Kittle, a DEC forest ranger.

The Kaaterskill Falls are located in the Town of Hunter, which is about 50-miles south of Albany – just east of Tannersville. The rocky cliffs are in a forest preserve owned by the state, and that is why DEC officials led this rescue. But there were about half-a-dozen agencies on the narrow, winding road below, including fire, police, and the State Police.

First, the chopper dropped the basket so crews could stabilize the boy. It then returned to slowly and carefully hoist him into the helicopter. The boy was then airlifted Albany Med. There was no immediate word on his injuries or whether he survived – but as of Monday afternoon, we are told he is in serious condition.

Meanwhile, the DEC is pleading with hikers to be careful on what clearly can be dangerous terrain.

“Stay on the trails and stay within your ability, and try not to approach any steep areas,” Lt. Kittle says.

Friday, Jul. 13, 2007

Boy saves gran’s life

A SCHOOLBOY was today hailed a hero after helping save his grandmother’s life.

Hartlepool eight-year-old Josh Urwin kept a cool head when he found his grandmother, Linda Cooper, unconscious on the floor.

He rang his great-grandmother, Doreen Phillipson, 80, who in turn rang his mother, Simone Urwin.

Josh then looked after his unconscious gran until an ambulance arrived to take her to the University Hospital of Hartlepool.

Simone, 40, of Colwyn Road, said:”He was so calm, he did everything. He said ‘she can’t move she’s on the floor, she can’t talk’. She actually had no blood pressure.”

She continued: “Josh was out playing and he came in because it was time to go to tennis. Me and my mother had only spoken five minutes before on the phone.

“Then Josh rang my nana saying his nana was unconscious on the floor.

“She rang me and I dialled 999 on one phone at work while ringing my mam’s house at the same time. I told him the ambulance was on its way and to just stay there and look after nana.”

Simone said the ambulance service couldn’t get through to Josh due to a call divert being in place and added: “I rang Josh back and told him to check that nana was still breathing and to go and open the door for the ambulance people.

“Josh looked after her and kept his cool until the ambulance came and only broke down shortly after when his grandad Gerry arrived home.

“If this had happened on one of the days that she didn’t pick Josh up, she would have been lying there for over an hour before being found and could

have died.

“We’re all so proud of Josh for reacting so well as he was very frightened by what happened.

”He’s said to me ‘I can’t be doing with losing my nana’. They are really close.

“When we went into the hospital, she started crying. She gave him a big kiss and said ‘Oh my little hero, I love you to bits’.

Linda, a 58-year-old housewife from South Parade, suffered an anaphylactic shock after taking her arthritis medication.

She looks after Josh three days a week until Simone returns from her job as a secretary in Ferryhill.

Linda was kept in hospital overnight before returning home after making a quick recovery. She said: “Every time I see him now I say ‘how’s my little hero today?’

“He was really marvellous. He surprised himself.”

Josh, who attends Eldon Grove Primary School, was treated to a visit to the cinema to see another hero in action – in hit movie Spiderman 3.

Thursday, Jul. 12, 2007

Dramatic Rescue On Quesnel River

Quesnel RCMP are releasing details of a dramatic rescue on the Quesnel River. In fact, Police say they may very well recommend a life saving award for those involved.

An 8 year old boy was riding his bike along with some friends along the walking path under the Johnston Street Bridge yesterday. His mother and the mothers of his friends, were in a group not far behind travelling on foot and pushing a baby carriage.

Somehow, the boy crashed his bike and fell into the river. He was swept away. The mothers ran along the footpath, keeping a watch on the boy as he bobbed along in the current. The only thing keeping his head above water was the styrofoam bike helmet he was wearing.

A woman on the foot path heard the mothers’ shouting, and left the foot path to pull the boy from the current near the Johnson Loop.

The boy was unconcious, and one of the other women started artificial resuscitation. Workers from the City of Quesnel’s works yard ran over and assisted with first aid until the ambulance arrived.

Police say the boy was taken to hospital, was kept overnight for observation, and was released this morning. He is at home recovering from minor injuries.

The RCMP say the heroic actions of the woman who fished the boy from the water, the artificial resustitation efforts of another woman and the fact the boy was wearing a bike helmet all contributed to saving the child’s life.

Neighbors rescue sleeping women from burning trailer

Neighbors in a Redmond RV park who noticed a nearby 28-foot travel trailer was on fire early this morning roused two sleeping women, helped them escape, and extinguished the fire using a garden hose.

According to a news release issued by the City of Redmond Fire & Rescue, a woman seeing flames and smoke from the nearby trailer in Space E of Green Acres RV Park located at 7777 S. Highway 97 told her husband, who then jumped into immediate action.

The fire was reported shortly before 2 a.m. on May 15, and firefighters arrived nine minutes later to find an extinguished bedroom and contents fire in the Taurus travel trailer. Responding units overhauled the fire, investigated the cause, and contacted the American Red Cross to assist the occupants.

Investigation determined the fire started when one of the occupants fell asleep while smoking a cigarette in bed. According to Redmond Fire & Rescue, the trailer did have a smoke detector, but it wasn’t in working order.

In addition to firefighters, Deschutes County Sheriff’s deputies, Oregon State Police, and the American Red Cross assisted on scene.

Wednesday, Jul. 11, 2007

Man Rescues Woman, Cats From Burning Mobile Home

A family in the Eau Claire area credits a neighbor with coming to the rescue when fire broke out in their mobile home yesterday afternoon.

Next-door neighbor Robert Crusing works a second shift and was sleeping when the fire started in the Pine Edge neighborhood.

He says his fiancee told him the neighbor’s trailer was on fire, and he could see a neighbor lady running around in the house.

He dashed to help the neighbor and her cats to safety, finally getting a third cat from under the bed before helping them all outside.

Firefighters say the home is a complete loss.

The cause remains under investigation.

Mum rescues children from burning house

A MOTHER rescued her three young children from their burning home.

The mum, of Harry Edward Court, Walcot, carried her four-year-old son, two-year-old daughter and 18-week-old baby to a neighbour’s house to call 999.

The eldest, who is still shaken by the incident, was the first to discover the fire at around 9am this morning.

The fire, in the living room of the end of terrace house spread through the house in minutes, destroying everything inside.

Witnesses said smoke billowing from the house was so thick they could not see in front of them.

Fire fighters used three fire engines, including lifting apparatus to get the flames under control in about half and hour.

Wiltshire fire brigade are still at the end of terrace home investigating the cause of the fire and making sure it is safe.

Tuesday, Jul. 10, 2007

Neighbour hailed a hero after fire rescue

A NEIGHBOUR is being hailed a hero after rescuing a pregnant mother and her toddler son from their burning home and carrying them down a ladder.

The woman, six months’ pregnant, and her family, are said to be lucky to be alive after being trapped inside the property at Coundon Grange, County Durham, on Monday night.

She, her partner and their one-year-old son were sleeping upstairs at the home in Randolph Street when the fire broke out in the living room shortly before midnight.

Derrick Spencer, 38, who lives next door woke to the sound of the smoke alarm and ran to get help.

He borrowed a ladder from another neighbour and carried the woman and her young son down to safety from the upstairs bedroom window.

The father was helped down the ladder minutes later when firefighters arrived and all three were taken to Bishop Auckland General Hospital where they were treated for smoke inhalation.

“When I woke up and heard the fire alarm going off next door, instinct kicked in and I knew I had to go and help,” Mr Spencer said.

“The pregnant woman was obviously very distressed when getting carried down the ladder and all the neighbours were very relieved once they were all safely on the street.”

His wife, Lisa, 29, said: “The smoke alarm woke us up, then we heard lots of screaming, our own living room was filled with black smoke.

“All the neighbours came out to help the family and I think my husband did a great job of rescuing them, although he won’t let me call him a hero, as he thinks it was what anyone would have done.”

Steve Donnelly, district manager for Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue, who is investigating the incident, said: “This was a very serious fire and the family are extremely lucky to be alive.

“This kind of incident proves how vital is it to have a working smoke alarm fitted in your property as it was the first thing that woke them up.”

Four breathing apparatus and a hose reel were used during the rescue.

Detective Sergeant Mark Willoughby, of Durham Police, said: “We can confirm that the father has been released from hospital and the mother and baby are still in for observation.

“The fire brigade and police crime scene officers are investigating the cause of the fire.”

Friday, Jul. 6, 2007

Student Rescues Neighbor

When 18-year-old Jeffrey Poston came home for lunch Sunday afternoon, the last thing he says he expected to see was smoke coming from his neighbors’ house.

But that’s exactly what he did see.

That’s why the Eagle Scout, and soon-to-be Central High School graduate, says he rushed into 85-year-old Clifford Walker’s home and helped get him out.

“You could see smoke real bad coming off the side of the house. I knew that he might not have the ability to get out himself.”

That’s why, with aspirations of one day becoming a fire fighter, he said he had to do something.

“I came up to the front door and started calling out his name. Mr. Walker. Mr. Walker are you in here? It was so dark and smoky.”

Jeff says he may not have even been home to help Walker had it not been for a longer lunch break. He says he usually eats out, but for some reason, he wanted to eat lunch at home Sunday. And that’s when he saw the smoke coming from Walker’s home.

“I’m glad I was here to help him.”

“It’s awesome. It’s awesome. I’m proud to call Jeff my friend.”, sayd Derek Hardeman, a co-worker at Publix

That’s what some of Jeff’s co-workers at Publix had to say about his bravery. And what does Mr. Walker think of the neighborhood hero?

“If it wasn’t for Jeff, I don’t know if I’d be here or not. I might’ve slept through the whole business.”

But Jeff says he’s not a hero.

“I just think I was in the right place at the right time. In the situation, I think anyone could have done it. People say that it’s luck and I guess it could be luck, but it could be something else too, ya know, that caused all the right things to happen for the right situation.”

A situation that he says changed his life, and saved another.

According to Sgt. Cliff Kleckley with the Macon-Bibb Fire Department, an electrical short in the basement started the fire.

As a result, he says the house has severe smoke damage.

Rescue an act of God

CURRUMBIN girl Chantelle Cowham has been dubbed a hero by lifeguards after dragging 15-year-old surfer Jake Miller from the water in what she called an act of God.

“God sent me there,” said the 20-year-old hairdresser, who dragged the teenager from the surf after spotting him floating lifelessly in the shallows yesterday about 5pm.

“It was totally weird, it was fate.

“I never go for a walk along Currumbin Beach. I usually always go to Burleigh headland and I was on my way there when for some reason I decided to go to Currumbin instead.”

Ms Cowham said when she first spotted Jake floating face down in the water she ‘thought it was a kid playing some kind of a joke’.

But she soon realised the situation was serious when she saw he was still attached to the leg-rope of his Mt Woodgee surfboard.

“I looked around me and I just thought ‘oh my God, there’s no one else on the beach’ so I ran in to the water,” she said.

“He was so heavy and I just kept trying to drag him up.

“There was no pulse and he wasn’t breathing, he was dead and I was freaking out.”

It was then that Ms Cowham believes God really stepped in when nurse Sonya Swann came running to her aid and began performing CPR.

Mrs Swann, a nurse for 22 years, had just finished booking a dinner reservation at Currumbin Surf Life Saving Club when she said a man came running up asking her to call an ambulance.

“I’m on holiday here with my family from Coolum Beach and I just dialled 000, gave him the phone and ran to the girl who was with the surfer,” she said.

“I didn’t have much hope for him so I just did what I could.

“The girl was saying ‘he felt dead, he was so heavy’ and then the lifeguards came and I continued using their equipment.”

After working on him for 10 minutes with lifeguards Steve Madden and Chris Maynard, Mrs Swann said Jake’s vitals returned with the ambulance officers administering the final lifesaving treatment.

“I reckon it’s a miracle. He’s a really lucky boy,” she said.

“I would like to catch up with him and see if he’s all right.”

Mr Maynard, who is the lifeguard superintendent, was one of the first lifeguards on the scene and said the passers-by who came to Jake’s rescue were ‘heroes’.

“We were not sure if he would make it for a while there but we found a slight, weak pulse and just kept going,” he said.

“He was surfing by himself and the shore break was dumping pretty hard.

“There were not a lot of people around, so luckily he was seen and that there was a nurse and lifeguards on hand to help.”

Southern lifeguard controller Peter Miller said the family lived across the road from the beach and Jake’s grandfather rushed to the scene after seeing a news flash about a near-drowning incident and realised that his grandson had not returned home.

It is believed Jake was hit on the head by his surfboard.

Mr Miller said Jake had regained consciousness as he was taken from the beach by ambulance officers.

He was in a stable condition at Tweed Heads hospital last night.

Thursday, Jul. 5, 2007

Troopers called heroes for saving their colleague

A state trooper who was badly injured in Sunday’s head-on crash in Lake Township might have died if it weren’t for the heroic actions of two fellow troopers, state police officials at Wyoming said Monday.

On a day police continued probing the wreck that killed two people, comrades lauded Troopers William Gross and Robert Rogers for pulling an unconscious Trooper Truman Brandt from the fiery wreckage on Route 29.

“There’s no doubt about it. They saved Truman’s life. They are heroes,” said Trooper Martin Connors, spokesman for state police at Wyoming. “If they didn’t act immediately, there would have been three fatalities.”

Troopers Gross and Rogers, both of the Tunkhannock barracks, were pursuing the vehicle that slammed into Trooper Brandt’s cruiser about 7:15 a.m. Two people in the fleeing vehicle — John Edward Reilly, 18, of Dallas, and an unidentified person — died at the scene.

As fire erupted and flames began to shoot as high as 50 feet in the air, Troopers Gross and Rogers worked to pull Trooper Brandt from the vehicle. As the blaze became more intense, they and passer-by Dennis Dobinick pulled Trooper Brandt to a nearby yard to escape spreading flames.

“They had to work at getting him out. They put their lives at great risk,” Trooper Connors said.

Trooper Brandt, who was flown to Community Medical Center, remains hospitalized in stable condition. He suffered multiple broken bones.

State police remain intensely focused on the investigation.

The chase began in Wyoming County when police attempted to pull the vehicle over for committing a traffic violation while passing an unrelated crash.

The vehicle was speeding south, trying to pass a car in the wrong lane, when it struck the cruiser driven by Trooper Brandt, who was traveling north to join the pursuit.

Guns and other valuables were found in the fleeing vehicle, which led to speculation the items might be connected to a burglary spree.

“Are these the Back Mountain burglars? We don’t know,” said Trooper Tom Kelly, spokesman for state police at Wyoming.

Rescue Team Saves Woman, Dog And Stew

A rescue team navigated flooded farmland in a boat to save a 70-year-old woman and her dog from rising floodwaters and made another critical rescue, a pot of stew from the woman’s stove.

Geneva Taptto frantically began calling for help Wednesday when she realized her rural home near Walters was surrounded by floodwaters.

Local sheriff’s deputies and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol’s lake division sent a rescue boat to save the woman and her dog.

“They couldn’t get the boat to the house. They had to wade in water to get me and the dog,” Taptto said. “They even brought the stew. I worked all morning on that stew.”

Wednesday, Jul. 4, 2007

Man Rescued Two Trapped Under Car

A neighbor came to the rescue of two men trapped under a car.

“I heard, ‘Help.’ And that’s all I heard. And I ran. I jumped the fence, because it was locked. And I jumped the fence and tried to do what I could,” says Sergio Perez.

He found two people pinned under a car. The car jack gave out.

Perez says, “I just saw the jack on the floor, so I tried to pick it up with my hands the best I could… One guy in the front, he got out.”

That man got out without any injuries. The second man was later freed and taken to the hospital. Police say he may have some broken bones. He’s now in the hospital in stable condition.

Perez was cut during the rescue, but he dismissed it as no big deal.

“I cut myself with the jack when I was picking it up and everything. And it doesn’t hurt me right now so I don’t mind,” he says.

Perez is being modest. He says he just tried his best.

He tells us, “In the beginning, yeah, I was a little scared. But I tried to do the best I could.”

Tuesday, Jul. 3, 2007

Emergency crew rescues mum and girl

Firefighters had to smash down doors to rescue a mum and her two-year-old daughter as their Telford home filled with smoke today.

A neighbour raised the alarm after hearing smoke detectors going off in the mid-terrace property in Matlock Avenue, Dawley, at 4am.

Firefighters rushed to the property and banged on the door to wake the occupants. When they got no response they smashed their way in.

Two firefighters wearing breathing apparatus found the woman and her two-year-old asleep upstairs.

The pair were carried to safety and treated for smoke inhalation by paramedics at the scene.

Firefighters said the smoke came from smouldering food in a microwave.

Sub-officer Peter Hawkins, incident commander, from Telford Central fire station, said: “The mother and child must have been in a deep sleep and simply failed to hear the activated smoke alarms that were in working order.

“The prompt actions of the neighbour prevented what could have been a tragic loss of two lives.

“Smoke can be a killer, just like fire itself, and this is yet another example of smoke alarms saving lives, albeit on this occasion in an unusual manner.”

Mr Hawkins said there was no obvious signs of fire when they arrived, apart from a haze on the ground floor.

He said he believed the woman had cooked the food in the microwave, but had forgotten about it and gone to bed.

But he thought the microwave might have been faulty.

Meanwhile, firefighters were called to a flat fire at a three-storey building in High Street, Newport, at 8.05am today.

They took just under 40 minutes to bring the blaze under control.

And a fire which caused a window to smash and damaged a door in Botany Bay Close, Aqueduct, Telford, is being treated as suspicious by police.

The owner’s 21-year-old daughter was in the house when the fire happened on Saturday at 11.20pm but no-one was injured.

Monday, Jul. 2, 2007

2 men saved from fiery crash in heroic rescue

Off-duty firefighters, law officers and civilians pulled two men from their blazing, mangled car with only moments to spare on Ingraham Street last night, authorities said.

The 19-year-old passenger would have burned alive in the car if not for the rescuers, said San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Battalion Chief Ken Barnes.

The accident occurred in the Mission Bay Park area about 7:25 p.m. when the 18-year-old driver took a curve too fast from northbound Ingraham Street to Sea World Drive and slammed into a tree, police said. Battalion Chief Jimmy Fiero said a fire started in the engine compartment and quickly spread into the passenger area.

Off-duty San Diego firefighters T.J. Lockwood, Mark Tomasello and Kyle O’Neill, with off-duty San Diego police Officer Benjerwin Manansala, a Border Patrol officer and civilians got the driver out fast, but the passenger was trapped.

“There was a lot of fire and a lot of smoke, the tires and greasy engine were burning, and plastics in the dash made toxic fumes,” Fiero said. “It’s amazing they got them out.”

He said some of the rescuers crawled into the car, forced the seat to move and pushed the trapped man out. The victims were hospitalized, one with serious injuries, including a possibly broken thighbone.

However, Fiero said, no one suffered burns. Barnes said he planned to recommend commendations for all the rescuers.

Men rescued from tank of fish poo

Four men were rescued in America last Friday, after they fell into an 18-foot tank filled with fish faeces.

Rescuers had to cut through the side of the fibreglass tank after the workers became trapped in the fish dung, at the Australis Aquaculture fish farm in Massachusetts. The men were plunged into the faeces after a bracket gave way, causing the collapse of the platform they were standing on to clean the tank.

One of the workers was completely submerged in the ordure, while the other three were covered up to their necks.

The four were trapped in the tank for 45 minutes before the rescue team could cut their way into the tank.

‘It was very slimy and it was heavy,’ said Turners Falls Fire Captain David Dion of the fish dung. He added: ‘Never seen anything like it in my life.’

The workers were all taken to hospital, but were not thought to be seriously injured.

Friday, Jun. 29, 2007

Mum rescues her babies from house fire

A QUICK-THINKING mother rescued her two young children from a house fire minutes before it engulfed their home.

Jayne Willis, of Windermere Drive, Warndon, Worcester, said: “”I’ve lost everything, but I haven’t lost my babies.”

She was at home with one-year-old Mckenzi and four-year-old Jordan when a smoke alarm alerted her to the fire, which started in the television set in the lounge at about 10.30am yesterday.

The 41-year-old, who was in another room, rushed into the room, and ran outside.

Minutes later, the house was engulfed by flames.

Speaking outside as firefighters investigated, she said tearfully: “I walked in the front room and saw the smoke so grabbed the little ones and ran out of the house.

“There was a small lot of smoke and by the time I came out to get the fire extinguisher and come back in it was everywhere and I couldn’t see. There was black smoke everywhere.

“Everything was so fast. All I know is it went up and went up fast.

“I’m angry and shocked.”

Miss Wallis said her three other children, 10-year-old Reece, nine-year-old Tammi and seven-year-old Conni were thankfully at school when the fire happened.

Firefighters extinguished the fire within an hour, but it caused severe damage to the house.

Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service spokesman Alec Mackie said the family was lucky to escape.

“The fire spread to other combustible materials that burn very quickly and caused a lot of smoke and fire,” he said.

“Had it happened at night it might have been a different tale.

“Thankfully the smoke alarms worked and it alerted her.

“She did very well to do what she did.”

However, Mr Mackie said the service did not recommend people going back into a burning building.

Police were on hand to divert traffic and Red Cross victim support volunteers were also there to assist Miss Wallis.

Men of steel rip up wrecks to rescue us

Every little boy wants to be a fire fighter. Maybe its that hero com plex we fantasize about. Certainly there’s no one more dashing than the helmeted man in the reflective yellow coat who saves the family home . . . and rescues Mrs. McGillicuddy’s kitty on the way back to the station.

But there’s a different aspect to being a firefighter, one thats just flat ugly. Firefighters also are the ones who head to car wrecks, and they cut you and me out of the mangled wreckage. Forget the Nash, save my . . . life.

Gary Klauss, a Warrensville Heights firefighter, and Terry Salvi, of the Bedford department, are experts in that field. In addition to their day jobs, they are field reps for Howell Rescue Systems, which makes tools used to get victims out of car wrecks.

One recent Friday, I joined Klauss, Salvi and a dozen firefighters from various local departments for a crash course on how to extricate people trapped in what’s left of their cars.

We spent two hours in the classroom going over the basics. Make sure you have your equipment before you leave the station. Know where it is on the truck. Know your assignment. Think about what you need, what you might need and how you might get what you might need. As you roll up to the scene, keep your eyes busy, especially if it’s a rollover, in which case victims are likely to have been ejected. Get plenty of light on the job. Be aware of the situation.

That last is critical. As we stepped outside for the first car, Klauss had one of our number do a walk-around. What did he see?

All the windows up. One airbag deployed. One (imaginary) unconscious victim in the driver’s side. Omigosh! A car seat in the back! But where’s the baby?!

The first step in any extrication is to assess the victim’s condition. So how do we get in?

Try the door. Sometimes the obvious is the easiest. If that doesn’t work, move on to the tools of the trade: cutters, spreaders and rams.

Cutters look like giant crab pincers. Spreaders look like the Jolly Green Giant’s pliers and are even heavier. Both treat steel like spaghetti noodles. Rams are telescoping rods that can exert 30,000 pounds of pressure – enough to get a dashboard off a victim. Anything strong enough to do the job these tools do has to be pretty solid, so it’s no surprise that the 29-pound cutters are among the lightest tools a firefighter uses in a rescue.

You know those sculpted bodies you see on firefighter calendars? Now you know how they get them. And it’s equally obvious why you never see feature reporters calendars. “Bunkered up” in full firefighter regalia – helmet, boots, jacket, pants, Nomex, goggles, gloves – I used every one of those tools at some course during the day. And by the time we finished cutting up that Mazda RX-7 with the caved-in roof, I was sweating like a hooker in church.

One of the first things a firefighter does is break the windows with a snap punch, or a Halligan bar (like a huge crowbar, with a punch on one end and the claw of a hammer on the other). That’s because once they get to work on the steel, it’s going to explode anyway. Make sure the victim knows what’s going on, Klauss said.

After flattening the tires or bracing the car to keep it stable and killing the batteries to make sure undeployed airbags don’t go off, firefighters tackle the different “posts” that create a steel cage for the vehicle occupants.

The A post is the front where the door hinges, the B post is where the back door hinges and so forth. Which gets cut first depends on the situation. Sometimes, no posts get cut, as in a Grand Prix we demolished. It was a simulated rollover that had ended up on its roof. We tunneled through the trunk.

Be careful what you carry in your car. I’m not sure where they got these vehicles, but I know they were real accidents. That would explain why we had to move a copier, some tools and even underwear to get to the driver’s compartment in that Grand Prix. The RX-7 had a glove box of shards that used to be Bone Thugs-N-Harmony CDs.

There is some humor in all this: Klauss said in one class a firefighter was too genteel when breaking windows. He didn’t want to scratch the paint.

Klauss said he’s never heard someone trapped in what used to be a car hollering about scratched paint.

Then there was the guy pinned by his car when the jack slipped. Firefighters got him out, and he was full of gratitude. So you have to wonder whose idea it was to send his saviors a bill for the gas tank they ruptured when they saved his bacon.

Ah, the life of a hero.

Thursday, Jun. 28, 2007

Toddler’s mother thankful for rescue

Recently at BroMenn Regional Medical Center, I became trapped in my vehicle.

I had locked myself out and climbed through the hatchback and lost my balance and fell forward and became trapped.

My 2-year-old son was with me crying and I couldn’t comfort him. I lay there trapped for 20 minutes.

I could hear people walking by and I was screaming for someone to help us. Only one person stopped and I don’t know her name, but she was our hero.

She called 911 and a female police officer came along with the fire department. I don’t know which city they were from or anything. I would like to thank all of them.

Now, looking back at the situation, what a sight it was for them to see. But they handled it professionally.

I can’t tell you how much I am grateful for all of them. In that time, I realized how helpless I as a parent could become, and it was the scariest day of my life.

Too many people take them for granted. Thank you with all of my heart for rescuing my son and I. As for the lady passing out ribbons from Baby Fold that called 911, I thank her the most.

If it wasn’t for her, how long would I have been trapped there and who would have held my baby and blocked him from the cold? Thank you all so much!

Jamie Cook

Man rescues 5 from burning vehicle

“It’s very important to me that people recognize what he did,” Jim Wade said Thursday night from Wishard Hospital. “There is no way I’ll ever be able to express the gratitude I have to this guy. Words just don’t do him justice.

“He literally risked his life. If it wouldn’t have been for him, none of my kids would have survived.”

“He” is Greg Bugher, the passer-by who pulled Wade’s three children — Branden, Courtney and Kristin — and their friends Alex Stang and Chase Parker from a burning minivan in a horrific wreck that killed Joy Edwards, his former wife and the children’s mother, Easter morning.

“I can see him trying to downplay exactly what he did,” a grateful Wade said. “I feel a debt of gratitude to Greg Bugher that I can’t even express.”

Edwards and her children lived in Kokomo, with Courtney and Kristin attending Western High School and, ironically, the Bughers — Greg, Dianna, Gavin and Parker — live a little more than a mile west of the school. All were returning from spring break trips: the Edwards group from Gulf Shores, Ala.; the Bughers and Cody Jansen, Gavin’s best friend, from Fort Myers, Fla.

The Bughers nearly became the victims of Nicole King.

For a reason yet to be determined, the 25-year-old Noblesville woman drove the wrong way on Interstate 465 for 16 miles before colliding head-on with Edwards’ Pontiac minivan at 3 a.m. last Sunday.

The Bughers switched drivers shortly after crossing the Ohio River at Louisville, Ky., but by Indianapolis, they were in need of gasoline.

“I’m in the passenger seat and was just starting to fall asleep,” said Greg, a supervisor in Delphi’s Kokomo operations. “[Dianna] asked if I wanted to get gas at this exit. I said, ‘no, go to the next one.’”

Greg laid back and closed his eyes again. They wouldn’t be closed long.

“I was driving. It was just me and everybody else was behind me,” Dianna went on. “There were no taillights in front of me. There was no one for a long way. I was driving in the center lane and I saw what looked like headlights heading at me. A little farther and I said, ‘Oh my gosh, there’s a car coming at me.’ I got over into the right lane.”

Awake after his wife’s exclamation, Greg said the “car flew right past us.” He estimated that King’s vehicle was going around 80 to 85 mph.

“That’s just a guess, but you can tell when they fly past you,” he said.

“When something like that happens, you think ‘this can’t be.’ A car doesn’t just come against the traffic like that on the interstate,” he continued. “You want to put a net around it to stop it. You want to let the people behind you know and there is just nothing you can do.”

Dianna looked into her side mirror and saw the wreck happen as she stopped.

“[King] didn’t even try to swerve. She rammed the van head-on and I saw that it flipped up and over,” she said. “It caught fire immediately. I’d already stopped. I got out the cell phone and called 911. I couldn’t even tell them where we were I was so nervous.”

She gave her husband the phone and he saw a sign and was able to tell the 911 operator the nearest exit number.

“They wanted more information and I said, ‘I can’t. They’re screaming and need us now,’” he recalled.

Edwards swerved to the right at the last instant, and Wade fully believes she did it to take the brunt of the crash because “she always put the kids first.”

“I’m convinced that was why she swerved the way she did. It was her attempt to shield the kids,” said Wade, who also lives in Russiaville. “It was just a natural instinct to protect them.

“If she hadn’t turned that little bit, Courtney wouldn’t have survived. Fortunately, all the kids had their seat belts on and that saved them, I’m sure.”

The van was on its passenger side with fire coming out of the engine.

“We both ran toward it and I turned and yelled, ‘Stay there, don’t come any closer’ at Dianna,” Greg said. “I got up on it and I could hear everyone screaming and then I could see Courtney pushing on the windshield with her feet, trying to get out. I reached down and grabbed at the windshield where it had rolled up. It was heavy and then she crawled out through there.

“She stood up. Her feet were a mess and she fell. I grabbed hold of her and carried her back to my wife. Dianna got her up on the guardrail and sat with her there.”

Courtney had been sitting in the front, talking to her mother, with her feet on the dashboard. Her father said she hit the windshield, but because of her seat belt, she didn’t go through.

“Before I ever talked to Greg, one of the first things Courtney told me was that this man came running up as she was trying to crawl out. He came up, pulled her out and scooped her up,” Wade said. “It meant so much to her that someone was willing to do that.”

As he ran back toward the burning van, Greg stopped.

“It hit me at that moment. I could see the fire and hear the screaming,” he said. “You see things on TV and you think you know what it’s like. You don’t. It’s horrifying.”

He looked back at his van and saw his own children watching.

“I looked over at my wife and Courtney and, at that moment, I realized I might not be coming back,” Greg said. “My family, I knew they were safe and God was going to protect them. But, if I don’t go do something to help the kids in the van, they weren’t going to live.”

At that point, Greg was the only chance those in the van had.

“No one else got out to help,” Dianna said.

When he got back to the van, the fire was spreading. He tried to look inside but had to climb up on the van to see inside. That was when Kristin was able to get out, so he got her out of danger.

“I was scared for him,” Dianna admitted. “He climbed up on the van and I felt it could blow up at any point.”

Returning to the van, he saw one of the boys who couldn’t get out on his own. Greg couldn’t reach him and climbed onto the guard rail to get on top of the van.

“The flames were growing, so I ran back to the van and grabbed a gallon of water,” he said. “I jumped up and grabbed the boy. By then, another person was there. I said ‘I’ll have to roll him out over the top of the van and hand him to you.’”

Courtney was going into shock, and Dianna got her into their van.

“Courtney was shivering and shaking. Her pupils were enormous. The fire truck and ambulance got there. The [medics] worked on her while the boys were sitting there,” Dianna said. “Parker was talking to her, trying to calm her down and rubbing her as they worked on her.”

Greg and the other Samaritan got the second boy out and to safety, but the fire was back and moving underneath the van.

“The flames were to the point where they were burning my shoes. I was standing with one foot on the guard rail and the other on the luggage rack,” he said. “I could see the fuel cell and the flames were coming up on it.

“I reached down and grabbed Branden, but he couldn’t move at all. He was pinned and still partially had his seat belt on. I looked at the other guy and said, ‘We have to get the fire out.’ I told Branden I’d be back.”

He remembered the cooler in the van and retrieved it.

“We threw the water and ice on the flames. We poured Coke and juice and whatever other liquid there was on the flames and slowed it down,” he said. “Someone [possibly a state trooper who had arrived] had busted out the back window. I saw I had a clear view of him. I stepped in and grabbed his right arm. The other guy grabbed his left arm. I said, ‘We’re going to get you out’ and we began pulling him out. We had to carry him out.

“When Branden came out, the flames were at the second seat. Thirty or 40 more seconds and he would have been burning. By the time we got him away and turned back, it was engulfed and there was nothing anyone could do to stop it.”

Seeing everything transpire, the boys got scared for Greg, his wife said.

“Parker was crying. He thought his dad was going to get killed, and Gavin was telling me to tell Greg to get off the van,” Dianna said.

Courtney had been telling her there were six people in the minivan.

“There were five people out and I asked Greg if he got six out. He said he’d lost track,” Dianna said.

By this time, Greg was having problems breathing from the smoke he’d inhaled.

“The firemen and ambulance attendants decided he needed to go to the hospital. Parker kept saying he couldn’t leave him. They came back and took Parker with him in the ambulance to the hospital,” Dianna said.

After receiving an oxygen treatment, Greg was released and the family made it home.

Monday, Dianna heard someone had died so she called Wishard Hospital, afraid it was one of the children.

“I found out it was their mother. I told Greg, and he got upset.”

“I took it hard because I thought I had missed her,” he said.

Wade has seen the van and “it was literally pulverized.”

“It doesn’t seem possible anybody could have come out of that alive,” he said. “Everything burned, the seats, the carpet. It was all gone, just black.”

Tuesday, the Bughers went to Wishard to see the children and met their father at that point.

Seeing the children has helped immensely.

“They immediately reached out for us and said thank you,” Dianna said.

Wade reassured Greg there was nothing he could have done to save Joy.

“Jim told us you couldn’t have seen her,” Greg said. “That really helped because I kept closing my eyes and thinking what I should or could have done differently.

“That was the true blessing. I know it wasn’t possible to save Joy. That is what I struggled with most. The second was being able to see the kids. Looking at them, there were still three in the van when the flames were getting worse, I thought ‘are we going to make it?’ Going and touching them was the best recovery there was.”

There is one unsung hero, all agree.

“If anyone knows who that man was, the families would like to thank him. At the end, there he was and he was a big help,” Greg said.

Wade will be eternally grateful to Bugher.

“He’s the kind of person who is going to be humble and not want to emphasize what he did. It really is important to me that everyone knows what he did. He’s a hero. There is no other word to describe what he did.”

Firefighters Rescue Family From Blazing Home

Firefighters rescued a young family from their burning house when a mystery blaze trapped them in a bedroom.

A man, woman and child were rescued from the bedroom window as flames engulfed their home in Enfield, north London.

The family were trapped in the bedroom when the fire began just before mdnight on Saturday.

The blaze took hold in the ground floor of the house in Wishaw Walk and fire crews helped two adults and a young boy to safety from a first floor window.

The three were treated for smoke inhalation, but were otherwise unharmed.

A London Fire Brigade spokeswoman said: “We were called at midnight to a fire at Wishaw Walk, Enfield, in a house of two floors.

“One adult male, one adult female, and one male child were rescued from a first floor bedroom suffering from smoke inhalation.

“Ten per cent of the ground floor was damaged by fire. The firefighters used one hose reel, a fire extinguisher, breathing apparatus, and a thermal image camera.”

The cause of the blaze was being investigated.

Wednesday, Jun. 27, 2007

Men rescue woman from crashed car

A man who spied steam rising from a ditch in southeast Missouri called a friend and the two of them rescued an elderly woman whose car had crashed.

Ken LeGrand said if he’d been driving near Kelso just a few minutes later, he probably wouldn’t have spotted anything Sunday night. But the puff of steam caught his eye. He called 911 and then a friend, Jeff Miller.

The two men smashed a window with a crowbar and pulled Bonnie Crawford, 70, of Scott City from her Buick. The car was wedged in the ditch, driver’s side down.

She was taken by ambulance to Saint Francis Medical Center. The Missouri Highway Patrol listed her injuries as moderate.

Lifeguard comes to boy’s rescue

A lifeguard is credited with saving a boy’s life at a city pool on Tuesday.

The boy was swimming in the area directly under a water slide at Mae Simmons Pool about 2 p.m. Tuesday when he began to drown, according to witnesses.

“He took a mouth full of the water that was coming down the slide,” said Ivette Eads, outdoor recreation supervisor at Mae Simmons Pool on East 24th Street.

A female lifeguard who was on duty at the time jumped into the pool and pulled out the boy. She then performed CPR on him and cleared his airway.

“He was pretty full of water,” Eads said.

The boy, who witnesses say was about 6- or 7-years-old, never lost consciousness and was taken to Covenant Children’s Hospital.

Eads said lifeguards had told the boy several times to move away from the area under the slide before Tuesday’s incident.

The lifeguard credited with saving the boy did not wish to be interviewed immediately following Tuesday’s near drowning.

2 Children Rescued From Mobile Home Fire

An act of heroism by a Forest Lake firefighter early Wednesday morning saved the lives of two children trapped inside burning mobile home.

Deputy Chief Bruce Wightman was the first to arrive at 97 Lee St. just after 1 a.m. to see flames and smoke pouring out of the front bedroom window of a residence in the Woodlund Mobile Home Park, said Fire Chief Gary Sigfrinius.

Wightman learned that two children were inside and, without putting on his gear, he used a police officer’s baton to break a back door window and reached in to unlock the door, Sigfrinius said.

Wightman crawled a short distance down a smoke-filled hallway and found the children, a 6-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl, in a bedroom in the rear of the mobile home. He carried them out one at a time and handed them to a police officer. The children were taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, where they are in fair condition, Sigfrinius said.

The children’s mother was able to escape unhurt.

Wightman didn’t put on gear because “there wasn’t time to get it on” and save the children, Sigfrinius said. But no one without proper training should ever enter a burning house, he added.

“Absolutely not,” Sigfrinius said. “He is a trained firefighter and he knew what he was getting into and knew how far he could crawl. I never recommend this for a civilian. He showed a lot of bravery.”

Sigfrinius said his department is working with the state Fire Marshal’s office to determine a cause.

No firefighters were hurt and no damage to adjacent structures was reported.

Monday, Jun. 18, 2007

103-year-old woman rescued in house fire

A 103-year-old woman was rescued from her bed during an early morning fire yesterday in Vandergrift that damaged three houses and displaced three families.

Winifred Aker was carried out of her home by Vandergrift police Officer Anthony DePanicis after he arrived at the scene, said Vandergrift No. 1 Fire Chief Tom Schaeffer.

“I saw him coming out the door with her in his arms. It was quite a sight,” Chief Schaeffer said.

Neither Ms. Aker, who now is staying with relatives, nor anyone else was injured in the fire, reported at 3:11 a.m. at the corner of Hamilton and Franklin streets.

Chief Schaeffer said the three houses were “pretty much a total loss.” He said two other houses suffered cosmetic damage.

The cause has not been determined.

The state police fire marshal is investigating.

About 14 fire companies from Vandergrift and surrounding communities responded to the blaze.

Hero Waitress Pulls Woman From River

Leah Sargent acted quickly and saved the life of an unconscious woman floating in the Potomac River on Wednesday.

The 19-year-old waitress from Falls Church, Va., was getting to work at a Nick’s Riverside Grill in the Georgetown section of Washington D.C., when bystanders approached her and asked for rope and her help.

She reacted quickly and jumped in to save the woman.

“Just trying to help someone,” said Sargent of the rescue.

How the woman ended up in the river is unclear, but she was in expected to recover.

Bystanders rescue drowning boy

When Adrianna Kruger saw a man swim into the water Saturday at the Barton Creek greenbelt in Southwest Austin screaming that his son had disappeared, the former lifeguard had a feeling that she might be called upon to perform CPR.

Sure enough, when 5-year-old Riley Yarbrough was pulled from the water with a bleeding head wound, Kruger, 21, breathed life back into the unconscious, blue-skinned boy.

Authorities said the boy was playing in the water near Twin Falls with his family about 2 p.m. when he was swept under and injured his head.

About a minute after the boy went under, two bystanders, who were not immediately identified, pulled him out. His heart wasn’t beating, authorities said.

Kruger said she knew immediately what she had to do.

“I ran over, told them I knew (cardiopulmonary resusc- itation) and started chest compressions and breathing,” said Kruger, a University of Oklahoma student who is visiting her boyfriend in Austin.

Another man started pressing on Riley’s chest while Kruger continued to breathe into his mouth.

The efforts paid off about a minute later, when he began to cough up water and cry.

“Once I heard him cry, I knew he would be OK,” she said. “It was the best feeling ever.”

The boy was transported to Children’s Hospital of Austin, where he was listed in good condition.

His family declined to comment Saturday.

Kruger said that the rescue was a team effort and that the men who pulled Riley out of the water and the man who assisted her with the CPR deserve equal credit for saving the boy.

Because the pool area is about 10 minutes from the nearest road, Austin/Travis County Emergency Medical Services District Commander Eric Jakubauskas said, the boy could have died if Kruger and the other bystanders had not acted so quickly.

“Kids crash quickly without oxygen,” Jakubauskas said. “If they hadn’t done CPR, there could have been serious problems for this boy.”

Jakubauskas said that knowing simple skills such as CPR goes a long way toward saving lives.

He also warned that Barton Creek is more dangerous than many people think.

“When it rains, Barton Creek isn’t the dry little creek we all love,” Jakubauskas said.

EMS spokesman Warren Hassinger said bystander aid, like the kind Kruger and the others gave Riley, can mean the difference between life and death.

“They changed his life today,” Hassinger said. “All the hospitals in the world won’t do you any good if you’re dead before you get there.”

Dad hailed after blaze rescue

A TODDLER survived a house fire after being dropped 12ft from a bedroom window into the arms of a hero neighbour.

John Llewellyn caught three-year-old Lettitia Smith when she was dropped from the burning first-floor where she was trapped.

And Mr Llewellyn passed the toddler to her pregnant mother before running into the inferno to rescue the girl’s grand-mother.

Another three family members had already escaped.

But the modest 48-year-old said today: “I’m not a hero, I just did what anyone else would have done.”

Fire investigators believe a child playing with a cigarette lighter probably started the early morning blaze and that John’s quick-thinking undoubtedly saved lives.

The drama began at 7am on Saturday when John was preparing to leave his house in Heol Dewi Sant, Bettws, near Bridgend, to go to Bessemer Road car boot sale in Cardiff.

Two doors away, a fire had started at Lynn Smith’s four-bedroom, end-of-link home she shares with her four children aged between 14 and 25, and her grand-daughter, Lettitia.

“I could hear shouting and screaming and thought it was an argument at first, but I went out and all I could see was smoke pouring from the house,” said John, who lives with wife Helen and her five children aged between five and 16.

“I ran round and Lettitia’s uncle Jamie was sitting on the windowsill with her in his hands.

“I could see massive flames in the room behind him so I shouted, ‘Throw her down!’ There was no other way they could escape.

“He dropped her and I caught her then passed her to her mother, who was shaking and crying, then Jamie jumped.”

John, who has a 17-year-old daughter, Alisha, rushed into the blazing house to rescue Lynn Smith, who was in the living room.

“I could hardly breathe and my eyes were watering from the heat and smoke, but the adrenalin was flowing,” he said.

After pulling Lynn from the fire, John, who is unemployed, raced to alert neighbours as smoke billowed from the property and 10ft flames licked at the house’s roof.

John, who has lived in Bettws for 11 months and is originally from Cefn Glas, Bridgend, said: “I didn’t think about it at the time, I just knew I had to get her out. I don’t like the thought of anyone getting hurt.”

Neighbours have praised his heroic actions, but John said: “Anyone else would have done the same, it’s just that I was already up and dressed.”

His beaming wife Helen, who woke in the middle of the chaos, admitted she was proud of her husband but added: “It was just a normal reaction by John. He looked so blinking calm it was unbelievable!”

Tuesday, Jun. 12, 2007

Teen falls 30 feet, rescued from Feather River Canyon

A girl, described by emergency personnel as in her mid-to-late teens, was injured Monday afternoon and had to be rescued by helicopter when she fell about 30 feet from a rock in the Feather River Canyon.

The name of the victim wasn’t immediately available.

A male who was among about 10 others hiking with the girl scrambled up steep canyon trails and ran to a clinic near Feather River Hospital, where he called 9-1-1 at 3:05 p.m.

Rescuers from Cal Fire-Butte County and Butte County Search and Rescue reached the girl about 3:30 p.m. and said she was suffering from multiple injuries, possibly including broken bones.

The victim reportedly slipped and fell from a rock above the Feather River commonly used as a diving spot. She partially landed in the water, which helped to break her fall. Rescuers said she missed hitting a rock ledge by less than a foot.

She was placed on a special carrier and airlifted to Feather River Hospital, about a half mile away.

Cal Fire’s Eric McGuire, from the Vina Helitack base, accompanied the victim on the flight out of the canyon and said the rescue was fairly routine. Because of injuries, McGuire said a quick helicopter rescue was preferable to carrying her out of the steep canyon by hand.

The exact nature of the teen’s injuries weren’t disclosed Monday. She remained at Feather River Hospital for treatment.

The same Cal Fire helicopter that rescued her went back into the canyon to bring out about a dozen rescue personnel. The entire rescue operation was completed at 4:30 p.m., and emergency personnel were on their way to another rescue at Bidwell Canyon Marina on Lake Oroville.

Early reports indicated that a male riding on an inner tube behind a boat had been struck by a jet ski about 4:30 p.m.

The victim was rescued from the water and flown to Enloe Medical Center in Chico, where a trauma team was waiting.

Thursday, Jun. 7, 2007

Hero wife saves hubby; Quick-thinking helps him escape severe heart attack

What started out as a day of celebration quickly turned scary for Debbie and Doug Ledger.

When Doug had a heart attack on the way to a wedding, only his wife’s quick action and the help of strangers kept him alive.

“It wasn’t that special,” said Debbie, a registered nurse, on the phone from her Lagoon City home yesterday. “It was just a situation where you do what you do.”

On their way to a wedding in Toronto on May 26, the couple had only been on the road about five minutes when Debbie heard her husband make a noise from the passenger seat. She looked over and saw him having a seizure.

“I was terrified, just like anybody would be,” she said. “I saw 35 years of our life go whipping by me.”

Knowing she had to get help quickly, Debbie pulled in to the nearest house where she thought someone was home and ran to the door, leaving David in the car. After a panicked moment when she thought no one was home, a man answered the door and Debbie yelled for him to call 911.

When she ran back to the car, followed by the man’s wife, who is also a nurse, Debbie said she knew David was gone.

Knowing she had to do something, she dragged her husband’s six-foot, 200-pound frame out of the car.

“He wasn’t heavy to me; it just happened,” she said of removing David from the car so the two women could perform CPR until the fire department arrived.

Firefighters used a heart defibrillator on David and, when paramedics arrived, Debbie accompanied her husband to Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital in Orillia.

“It was the scariest thing I’ve ever been through,” she said. “I wasn’t heroic. I was a basket case after.”

Debbie, who works as an occupational health nurse in the Toronto area, said neither she nor David had experienced health problems before, but they were impressed by the treatment they received at the Orillia hospital, especially from the nursing staff.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am of my profession,” she said.

“There wasn’t one (nurse) who didn’t treat myself and my family with dignity and with respect.”

Now that David is back at home, Debbie said she still has flashbacks of that day.

She said it’s reinforced her belief that everyone should learn CPR because it could help save the life of a loved one.

She added if it hadn’t been for the help the couple received that day, David wouldn’t be at home recovering.

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