by Senior Airman Christopher Gross
460th Space Wing Public Affairs
6/9/2012 - BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFNS) -- Members of the Buckley Fire Department were dispatched around midnight June 7 to a water rescue call in Aurora, Colo.
A man was trapped in his van due to flooding caused by severe storms, but due to the efforts of the fire department, he escaped unharmed, officials said.
The call came in from Sable Altura Fire Department, which requested Buckley AFB's heavy rescue team because of the high swift moving water, said Dennis Hoke, the Buckley Fire Department fire chief.
The team arrived on scene about eight minutes after being called out and assessed the situation. The water was approximately 3 feet high; the van was approximately 100 feet away and lying sideways.
Brandon Elson, a Buckley Fire Department firefighter, and another firefighter from the Sable Altura Fire Department were rigged to a safety rope and worked their way to the van, where they pulled the man from the vehicle. The firefighters gave the man a life vest, rigged him up with a safety belt and headed back toward the truck.
"The whole thing behind water rescue is that going into the water is a last resort," Hoke said. "But in this particular case, we didn't have a choice."
Elson, who was the one rigged up, said this type of rescue is completely out of the ordinary for their fire department, but that didn't mean they weren't prepared.
"I felt very prepared. You're excited and you're amped up and you don't get to do this that often," Elson said. "It's more energy than being scared or anything."