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Firefighters share story behind dramatic rescue - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Firefighters share story behind dramatic rescue

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ST. ALBANS, Vt. -

"Here you'll see me coming up the hill with the child," said Nate Bachand, looking at the video.

Volunteer firefighters Nate Bachand and Stephen Bracey weren't expecting this kind of rescue when the first call came in last Thursday.

"Rollover on the interstate into the median was the call," Bachand explained. "So we're expecting 25 feet off the road, you walk to the car and there it is. We get there and it's down a 50-70 foot embankment at an 85-degree angle."

On top of that, there is a baby they need to reach.

"It puts a whole different outlook on the scene when there's a baby involved," Bracey said. "It's scary."

Add the ice built up along the guardrail and down the hill and these firefighters had a logistics challenge they don't often face.

"This is the sled you see me coming up the hill in. We just strung through it 100-foot ice rescue rope and slid this down to the car. I got strapped in and AmCare handed me the child and up the hill we went," Bachand said. "When the child got brought over to me it was crying, squirming around, which in the medical world is a good sign because it means baby is alive and well."

"I grabbed her from Nate and she was calm," Bracey said. "I just held her close because it was 17 below that day."

A father's instincts kicking in. Bracey has two sons and it was his own father, Ed Bracey, a 30-year veteran of the St. Albans police department, who inspired him to even do this work. He said he wanted to hold onto the little girl longer once she was handed over to him.

"I held her close to me and then when I went to hand her off to AmCare she started crying," Bracey said. "I wanted to hold her to keep her calm, but where I was standing it's right on the guardrail and we were afraid I might slip."

Like Bracey, Bachand's family inspired him to serve. He hung out at the town fire station as a kid with his uncle Dave Raymond, who was a volunteer.

"Just him doing it just kind of ingrained that sense of community in me," Bachand said. "Like he said, it's just helping people and being a good person."

And it is family that comes to mind as these firefighters think back on the baby girl they helped to rescue.

"You don't want to see that child hurt and you think of your own kids when you're doing it," Bracey said. "Then you step back and relax and say, we did a good job, we all worked together well and it came out alright."

The firefighters said everyone seemed OK after the crash, including the little girl's mom and dad.

We tried to track down the family through the state police, but haven't had luck identifying them yet.

The firefighters think the family was from the Montreal area.

Related Story:

Infant rescued after car crash in snowy conditions

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