Teen rescued in flood thanks firefighters

Jake Old • Apr 25, 2017 at 4:42 PM

Noel Ayala, a 16-year-old boy who was rescued from flooding waters in Lebanon on Saturday, got a chance Tuesday to meet and thank the Lebanon Fire Department first responders who saved him.


Ayala was caught in waters near East Adams Avenue, close to Office Max in Lebanon. He was clinging to a telephone pole when firefighters arrived.

The three-man crew who responded – Jeff Davenport, Sean Grizzle and Jason Gass – are all trained in swift water rescue.

Gass went into the water to get to Ayala, while Davenport and Grizzle pulled them both out of the water. Gass waded about 75 yards into the water, according to a Lebanon fire shift commander who was on the scene.

“[Ayala] looked like he was getting tired, so I went upstream, and they went downstream,” Gass said. “We got him out of there.”

Ayala was carried from the location where he was found to a gravel parking lot by the road.

Ayala was in the water for about 15-30 minutes before he was rescued, he said. The rescue took about 15 minutes.

Once he was pulled from the water, officials determined Ayala was in stable condition, and he had no serious injuries.

Ayala said Tuesday he appreciated the help from the firefighters who helped him in his time of need.

“I just said thanks,” Ayala said. “I was really happy they helped me.”

The firefighters and Ayala met at Fire Station 1 in Lebanon, and local media outlets were invited to see the reunion. A cellphone video of the rescue grabbed national attention and has since gone viral on social media. 

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