Firefighter goes above the call to rescue woman in flood waters


ST. JOSEPH, Ill. (WAND) - A local firefighter took measures into his own hands to help save a woman from drowning after her car got swept away in flood waters. 

Firefighters were called to a drowning in progress on County Road 1700 N, just west of 2200 E around 10:30 a.m. St. Joseph Firefighters were alerted to the drowning from a retired firefighter. He told responding firefighters he saw the woman avoid signs about high water on the roadway and continue to drive through the high water. 

>>Related: Flash flooding across Iroquois County

St. Joseph crews called for a rescue team from the Mahomet-based Cornbelt team. However, when a firefighter learned how long it would take for them to respond he ran home and got is canoe to try and get to the woman. 

The woman was luckily able to get out of her car and swim to a tree branch, where she held on for about 45 minutes. The firefighter was able to reach the woman and save her from the tree branch. 

The Champaign County Sheriff's office says the Saline Branch Ditch, where the rescue happened usually floods during heavy rains and drivers usually continue to drive through the area. 

Firefighters believe the woman was in her 40s. She was transferred to a local hospital for treatment. 

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