By Timothy Richardson, City of Olean Fire Chief
At 9:15 this morning the City of Olean Fire and Police Departments were alerted to a person that had jumped off the East State Street Bridge. Thanks to the quick actions of two men, this incident had a positive outcome.
The incident unfolded when a passerby saw the victim sitting on the bridge railing and asked if she was okay. The gentleman realized that she was not doing well and pulled off the side of the road to offer help. While calling 911 he realized that she had jumped off the bridge.
Coincidentally, there was a second gentleman walking his dog on the west shore of the Olean Creek. He heard screaming and immediately saw the woman in the creek and took action. He heroically risked his life by braving the high, cold waters and saved her life by rescuing her.
As first responders arrived on the scene the two men were walking the victim to East State Street, towards the awaiting ambulance, where Olean Fire Department Paramedics began treating her for hypothermia and traumatic injuries. She was subsequently transported to Olean General Hospital. The gentleman who jumped in to save her was evaluated and declined medical care. He was given a ride to his home where he could warm up.
These events are evidence that even in the most turbulent of times the selfless acts of two men helped save the life of a stranger today. If one man did not take time out of his day to see what this individual was doing and if she was okay, no one may have noticed her jump. If the other man was not in the right place at the right time and willing to risk his life to save another; this story may have had a different outcome.
On behalf of the City of Olean Fire and Police Departments thank you to both of you men for what you did today, you are heroes!