“When I got there, the only thing I could see was her nose and upper lip,” said Daniel Burleson, a full-time firefighter with Birmingham who works part time at B & S Towing in Cropwell. “Another minute or so and it probably would have been a body recovery.”
Rescuers said the woman was conscious and did not require resuscitation.
Burleson said Jason Lane, a former New London fire chief, called him about assisting with a body recovery.
Fire Chief David Hurst said central dispatch notified the Volunteer Fire Department about a woman in Logan Martin Lake.
“It sounded like the woman was going down, so I assumed it was a drowning,” he said. “I was en route when they requested a flat-bottomed boat, and stopped by the fire station to get it. I called Jason, who is a diver, to see if he could give me a hand with the body recovery. You always prepare for the worst, but hope for the best.”
Burleson said he was working at B & S Towing Friday, and was much closer to the call than Lane, who was heading back from Birmingham.
“I went up to help,” he said.
Burleson said when he arrived at Poco Lane, near St. Clair Shores, he saw a woman treading water 150-200 yards from shore.
Burleson said he and two New London waterworks employees, Terry Brown and David Wadsworth, were first on the scene.
“The three of us managed to appropriate a small flat-bottomed boat and used makeshift paddles to get out to her,” he said. “We managed to get her to shore just as the other firefighters arrived.”
Hurst said the woman was already on shore when he arrived at the scene.
“They all did a good job,” he said.
Burleson said the woman was transported to Brookwood Medical Center by Regional Paramedical Services.
“She was lucky we arrived when we did,” he said. “She was probably a minute from going under.”
Contact Elsie Hodnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.