My Town Hero: Little Rock firefighters save Good Samaritan | My Town Hero
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Each week for My Town Hero we highlight people in central Arkansas who have gone above and beyond in their community. We introduce you to multiple heroes right here in Little Rock as we share an amazing story of survival, friendship and heroism.
When the fire alarm goes off, firefighters drop everything and race to an emergency. But, it typically ends there. They'll likely never meet the person they've saved. Chirie Bazzelle was adamant about meeting the men she knows saved her life.
"They're my heroes, my angels. I truly believe they're my angels,” she told THV11.
On the morning of December 30, 2012, Chirie was driving near a woman who lost control of her vehicle and slammed into the concrete median along the I-440 Bridge. She immediately pulled over and ran across the interstate to help.
"When I pulled over to help the lady, I literally thought that I was going to call 911 and get her assistance and go back to my truck." But, Chirie never made it to her truck. "I picked up my phone to call, looked back, and saw a tractor trailer jacknifed."
It was heading towards her and the woman inside the vehicle. Chirie began to literally run for her life.
"Next thing I know I felt something hit me in my back and everything went black,” she recalled. Chirie had been knocked 40 feet off the bridge. Moments later, Fire Station Rescue #2 arrived to the scene.
"We made an initial sweep off that area below the bridge and didn't see anything at first," explained Jason Gammell, but just as they were about to write it off as misinformation, Chirie screamed out twice.
“’Help! Somebody help me!’ and I saw a guy. He happened to look over, and he screamed ‘There she is, ‘" added Chirie.
Firefighters immediately sprang into action and began to set up a rope rescue system.
"We've had a few rope rescues but nothing to this extent. This was one of the most technical rescues," said John Hogue.
"It was real icy that day. Ice on the side of the bridge, and it was kind of precarious getting over the edge and getting to where you could slide down the rope to the ground,” added Gammel, the first to rappel down the rope.
Jesse Clark came down after him. To their surprise, Chirie was conscious as they began to assess her injuries.
"My bones were sticking out, the flesh was hanging off my leg. I asked him if I was going to die, and he said no," described Chirie.
"We hooked in, got her on the backboard, got her to the edge of the bridge, got to the top, and they yanked us over," Jesse Clark continued.
Chire and the woman she tried to help were taken to the hospital. The driver only had minor injuries, but Chirie spent two weeks in the hospital and three months in rehab after suffering multiple fractures, torn ligaments, and a severed spleen.
"Doctors thought I should've been dead, paralyzed or with head injuries because of the severity of what happened."
As soon as she was able to get back on her feet, she tracked down all of the fire fighters who helped rescued her and brought them care packages, not once, or twice, but every month since then.
"When she first came up here, she was on crutches. Now she comes up here dancing," said Hogue.
What began as a regular day on the job has now blossomed into a meaningful friendship, and though Chirie has no doubt in her mind that they are her heroes, to them, she too is a hero for stopping on an icy road to help someone else. All of the firefighters who helped save Chirie were honored at the Little Rock Rotary Awards Ceremony last week for their heroic act.
Do you know someone in your community who goes above and beyond? Maybe they’re always helping people, or greets everyone with a smile. Perhaps they’ve beat unthinkable odds or have accomplished something exceptional.
We want to highlight them. To have your My Town Hero featured, email the following information to email@example.com:
- Their name,
- Their hometown,
- Their contact information,
- A photo of them, and
- What makes them extra special
Include “My Town Hero” in the email subject line and we’ll take care of publishing it for you. Their story might even be told on air by THV11's Denise Middleton.