DARING RESCUE: Firefighters saved man from rushing floodwaters during Friday night’s storm

Published 9:16 am Saturday, March 9, 2024

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Two Troup County firefighters performed a daring rescue during Friday night’s storm, pulling a man to safety after his vehicle had run off the road into a ravine full of rushing floodwaters.

A little before 9 p.m. Friday night — as the downpour of rain continued — a vehicle was stuck in rushing floodwaters at Lower Glass Bridge Road and Kimbrough Road, according to Troup County Fire Chief Michael Strickland.

The victim was able to call his wife and give a general location of where he was before the call disconnected. She immediately called 911, and two fire stations and a battalion chief immediately took the roadways to try to find him.

Eventually, the flashing lights from the vehicle were seen, and the fire department began rescue efforts.

The man had managed to get out of the vehicle and was hanging onto a tree.  A “throw rope” — a 75-foot rope with a flotation bag — was tossed to him and he wrapped it around him.

“When he let go with that tree, the water just started taking him,” Strickland said. “We had two firefighters that were using all their might and strength to pull him back to the side of the ravine where they could pull him to safety.”

The firefighters who performed the rescue were Sgt. Eric Rogers and Firefighter Jesse Dodgen.

“Their instincts kicked in, and they just they knew exactly what to do,” Strickland said. “Then they had to use all their strength to pull him over to the other side.”

Strickland said they added the throw ropes to fire trucks about two years ago and have been training with them at the pool at Mike Daniel Recreation Center. However, they’d never used them on a call until Friday night.

“We are a fire department that serves a very big lake, but there are also other water rescue possibilities like pools or rivers or streams that we identified the need to have the throw rope bags on the trucks,” Strickland said. “Coupling that with the training that we did just for this exact purpose definitely makes me proud as the fire chief that our firefighters were able to successfully execute this rescue, and now this man is back with his family. I’m very proud of my firefighters for their efforts in this.”

The victim was taken to the hospital, but any injuries suffered were unclear.