Fire captain reflects on unusual' rescue
By By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
April 13, 2003
When Meridian Fire Capt. Ricky Leister and Engine 1 arrived at the Sara Lee Bakery Monday, they thought they were there to rescue a woman trapped by flood water.
Leister said dispatch received a call about 1:30 p.m. that a woman was stranded on top of her car on St. Paul Street with rising water all around her.
But when firefighters arrived on the scene, Leister said the car and the woman were nowhere to be found.
And they quickly found themselves part of what he called an "unusual" rescue of the bakery's employees that included hundreds of feet of rope, two rescue boats and a crowd of nosy spectators.
When Leister arrived at the bakery, near Interstate 20/59 and 29th Avenue on St. Paul Street, he found a different problem.
Minutes later, a motorboat arrived on the back of truck. Firefighters hoped to use it to reach the anxious employees.
The rescue attempt failed, however, when the boat and a line of rope tangled with a street sign, causing the boat to sink as the motor popped off and headed downstream with three life jackets.
Firefighters pulled the two emergency workers in the boat back to the "shore." About two hours later, firefighters set up a successful system and rescued the stranded workers.