Chester firefighters rescue man from creek

May 13, 2013 8:43:54 PM PDT
Two firefighters in the City of Chester are being hailed as heroes after saving a man's life Sunday night.

Firefighters Kevin Crews of Chester Fire Company 82 has been on the job just two weeks.

Crews took part in his first rescue, alongside Firefighter James Krapf.

"Two weeks, that's it. I was glad to be there to help, honestly," Crews said.

It was about 11:30 p.m. that a call came in about a man drowning in Chester Creek at Ethel Waters Park off of Route 291.

Battalion Chief Charles Hopkins says the 48-year-old man was face down and not moving.

"We thought it was going to be a recovery operation," Hopkins said.

But Krapf and Crews were about to be in for a big surprise when they donned life vests and went into the chilly waters to retrieve the victim.

"I saw his hand rise up and as I pulled him up he took a breath and latched on to me. As he latched on to me, he started to pull me down into the water," Krapf said.

"I was a lifeguard for a little bit so I know when people start panicking, trying to catch that breath, trying to get out of the water, it could turn into a bad situation," Crews said.

Crews reached over and pulled the man back and got him to calm down. Both firefighters then brought him to shore.

As of Monday night, the man is hospitalized, but he is alive.

"Everybody's here for a reason. I was glad that I was able to get on a job and come here and serve the community of Chester," Crews said.

"Last night was one of our nights that we were placed here for. This guy needed help. that was what we did. That was what we signed up for," Krapf said.

As that may be true, the appreciation for these two heroes continues.

"I'm extremely proud of them. Not often do we get an opportunity to stick our chest out and smile and get recognition for the job that we do; these gentlemen certainly deserve that," Chester Fire Commissioner James Johnson said.