EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) — “When we arrived, there was a large group of people gathered for the fireworks there, people were very frantic. In my thirty years, I’ve never come across a scene like that,” said Captain Rick Scheller.
Captain Scheller was the first to arrive on scene on the night of the Fourth of July.
“When I first saw the pipe and the child in the bottom of the pipe, that’s when I knew we were going to need a lot of help,” said Scheller.
Three months later, he says he can still remember every detail.
“When we looked down in there, he was kind of supporting himself on the edges of the pipe so that crossed out minds too, if he let go, would the water be over his head,” said Scheller.
Now, Scheller is among the first responders being recognized for thinking outside the box and employing a simple piece of playground equipment to solve the problem.
“We just kept trying to come up with different ideas. Once we got him on the swing and got him out of there, it was like a big weight had been lifted off of your shoulders,” said Scheller.
“In this case, we were trying everything that we could and we had thought of many different options to try to rescue the young man. Failure wasn’t going to be an option,” said Captain Chad Buttry.
Captain Buttry was awarded the bronze merit award for his constant communication with Leo. He says it was the persistence and creative thinking by his peers that saved the day.
“It’s a very good feeling to know that recognition is placed upon those that deserve it. Without the cooperation of every member of our crews, this would have never happened,” said Buttry.
Now, the heroes head home with symbols of their bravery and innovation, and little Leo has an award of his very own.
“We actually had the swing that we used to get him out so we all signed the swing and let him have that so he’s got something to remember it by too,” said Scheller.
A memento of a night saved by creativity.
(This story was originally published on October 08, 2019)