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Firefighter, Teens Save Woman From Drowning in Car

"It wasn't too much of a big deal," said one teen rescuer.

Mark Mifsud and Luke Kyriazis don't think of themselves as heroes. They happened to be in the right place at the right time and weren't going to be deterred from putting their own lives at risk to save that of a total stranger.

"It wasn't too much of a big deal," Luke grinned on Sunday. But to much of the town, it is a big deal.

The action to many represents an extraordinary bout of courage, particularly for a pair of 14-year-olds who along with a volunteer fireman .

Since Patch first published news of their rescue, along with firefighter Tom Pimlott, television news outlets and newspapers have brought their cameras to Glen Rock.

At about 4:15 p.m. Saturday, 81-year-old Fair Lawn resident Elizabeth DeFusco was on her way to church headed down Maple Avenue when she came upon safety cones placed to prevent drivers from hitting the dip by the train trestle. 

DeFusco instead maneuvered around the cones and quickly found her entire car submerged by about four feet of standing water.

"I thought this is the end, I’m going to drown in this car. I’ve got to get out," DeFusco told CBS 2.

Off-duty firefighter Tom Pimlott, the first on scene, told the boys not to jump in due to the dangers. But they didn't listen, deciding to run in. Pimlott, according to police and fire officials, followed.

"The water was up to her neck," said Luke. The car was stalled and floating, its back end rising. "She was panicking a lot," Luke said.

"She was trying to open the car door but because of the pressure just couldn't," Mark recalled Sunday. "We ran down ... I was able to open the door and Luke helped get her out."

DeFusco, uninjured but visibly shaken, was carried uphill to Pimlott's personal vehicle and given a blanket. Police returned the cane she used for walking. The driver was issued a summons for driving on a closed roadway.

"What the three of them did was selfless, courageous and I don't know if it was a life-threatening situation, but it certainly could have been," said Councilman Michael O'Hagan, head of Public Safety in Glen Rock. "I cannot applaud the three of their actions anymore for what they did."

According to Mark, a freshman at GRHS, the teens were aware of the dangers of flood water but felt compelled to help. 

There was no hesitation, spare a moment for Luke, a Tenafly resident, to check on any electrical wires that may have dipped into the rapidly rising water.

That's not to say they weren't scared.

"It was very exciting," Mark recalled. "It was scary, a lot of adrenaline [pumping]."

DeFusco was grateful for the actions of the rescuers.

"These kids really cared about getting me to safety. I can’t believe it, how miraculous it was," DeFusco told CBS2.

The rescue also demonstrates the incredible dedication of Pimlott and the volunteer members of the Glen Rock Fire Department and Ambulance Corps, officials said.

"They always put their lives on the line for us without thinking about it and this was another situation where there was a person in distress, they didn't even think about their own well-being," O'Hagan told Patch.

Pimlott, a fire safety engineer at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, could not be reached for comment.

Mark's mother, Frances Gomez, said she's extremely proud of her son and his friend Luke. She's not the only one.

According to Gomez, Mark has received calls and letters from people all over Glen Rock, even a note from his third-grade teacher.

"They should get kudos," she said. "They [the public] should elevate the positive things. It snowballs. You want a positive snowball."

RB August 01, 2012 at 07:49 PM
These two boys are heroes and role models. Congratulations on a job well done!
Elizabeth Cox August 01, 2012 at 09:37 PM
nice job boys!
Craig Hueneke August 01, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Ya dun good dudes! Mr. H
TheValiban August 05, 2012 at 02:26 AM
you guys rock!

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