A fire chief in St. Paul, Minnesota, saved a woman who was attempting to jump from a bridge to the Mississippi River on Tuesday, afternoon, Aug. 8.
The woman climbed over the railing of the Robert Street Bridge, apparently poised to jump. Two policemen at the scene approached her from each side while District Fire Chief Conrad Ertz gradually approached her from behind.
One of the officers, Len Wall, reported through his radio in a quiet voice how the situation unfolded. “She’s on the other side of the railing now,” he said. “We’re trying to talk her out of it.”
The other officer, Shawn Longen, talked to the woman, who was in her 20s. “She felt like there was nobody who loved her,” he told Star Tribune. “I told her there are people who love you. … ‘Come over the barrier and talk to me’.”
As Ertz was closing in, he signaled the officers and then grabbed the woman by her torso and pulled her backward over the railing.
Officer Longen later talked to the woman after she was taken to a hospital, “shared some personal experiences with her and tried to give her some hope,” he said.
The rescue was captured on camera by a passerby, Matthew Seaton, and posted on Facebook.
“Pretty sure I just witnessed the Saint Paul Fire Chief save a life, thank you Conrad Ertz!!” Seaton said in the Facebook post.
Ertz, a 20-year veteran of the department, has been to “a handful” of suicide attempts where people attempted to jump.
“Quite honestly, most [rescues] have not been so successful,” he said. “So this is very special.”
Ertz didn’t know Seaton was recording the situation and only learned about it when he returned to the fire station and one of his colleagues showed him the video on Facebook.