away | Want fries with that? |
takes a dive
comes up with a lifesaving act.
Three of the four members of the firefighting team that saved a young
boy this past summer are Frogs: Landon West '92, center, and Lt. Buster
Foster and Mike Lachman, who also attended TCU.
were all Landon West '92 could see of the car slipping deeper into the
black water of Lake Arlington. Suddenly one voice pierced the many yelling
at the Fort Worth firefighter and his crew mates.
a baby in the car.
the bunker pants and into the water went West and Lt. Buster Foster. The
diving gear the team had in the water rescue truck back at the station
flashed through West's mind as he gulped air and plunged toward the submerged
was so dark and murky," West said. "It was a real scary feeling, but you
don't think about it, you just do it."
several tries before the two found a way in and discovered the small boy
floating unconscious against the roof.
broke the surface with the child, West rested the two on his arm and swam
to shore while Foster gave mouth-to-mouth. About the time they reached
water's edge, the 3-year-old coughed and began to cry.
the firefighters should have been back at the station. A false seizure
call had brought them to the lake that September evening where hundreds
were trying to escape the sultry weather. But those same crowds boxed
them in. As they moved slowly through the traffic, they passed the car,
which had just slid into the water.
earned the squad of four, headquartered at the busiest station in town,
one of the highest awards given internationally to firefighters, the International
Association of Fire Chiefs' Award for Valor, and a nomination for a Congressional
Medal of Valor, an honor still under consideration by the Senate.
for us to take the credit when anyone at this station, or any other firefighter,
would have done the same thing," West said. "The main thing is that boy
has another day on earth regardless of who did it."
a degree in English and business before he realized a tie and a desk weren't
for him. Shortly after graduation he was accepted into the Fort Worth
Fire Department training program.
we help save a life, but sometimes we just unlock a car," he said. "But
whatever it is, when we're there and can help, well, that makes you feel