Firefighters Honored For Heroic Ice Rescue

Monday, February 5th 2007, 9:49 pm
By: News On 6

Two Green Country firefighters are honored for saving a teenager who fell through the ice at a frozen pond. Those Bartlesville firefighters risked their lives to save the girl. News on 6 anchor Craig Day reports the firefighters never expected to be the center of attention.

Bruce Waterbury and Justin Woodworth say what they did was all in a day's work, but others say it was exceptional. Those firefighters were honored in Bartlesville Monday night.

Waterbury and Woodworth and their fellow Bartlesville firefighters never expected to be the center of attention. But surrounded by friends, family and others, who appreciate what they've done, they're in the limelight, honored by Bartlesville City leaders.

" We were just doing our job,” said Captain Bruce Waterbury. “That's all we want to do, go out do our job, and go back and disappear. And wait for the next incident."

On January 23rd those firefighters rescued a 17-year-old girl who fell through an ice-covered pond.

This is a picture of the rescue from the Bartlesville Examiner Enterprise.

"We knew we had minutes," Waterbury said.

“She kept breaking ice off and going under, and then coming back up,” said Bartlesville firefighter Justin Woodworth.

"The concern is the person might go under the water and come up under the ice. That's the worst case scenario," Waterbury said.

As the firefighters tried to help the girl, they also fell through the ice. Once firefighters were able to get a rescue boat to the pond, they were then able to get all three of them out of the icy water.

"It was a team effort,” said Woodworth. “Everyone included from the guys that brought the boat to the guys on the bank."

It's a day the men will never forget, neither will Amanda Topping, she's the teenager who fell in to the icy water.

“They're brave, they're quick, heroic, very compassionate,” Amanda Topping said.

"They mean a lot to you," asked News on 6 anchor Craig Day.

"They do," she said.

Topping is grateful the firefighters came to her aid, thankful she's alive and says she'll never go out on an ice-covered pond again.

Bartlesville firefighters say this is a good opportunity to remind young people across Green Country about the dangers of going out on ice-covered ponds. They say they don't want to see anymore people fall through the ice.