Teen Pulled From Flash Floods Reunites, Thanks First Responders

Posted at 4:37 PM, Apr 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-25 19:15:57-04

A teen rescued from a flooded creek over the weekend was reunited with the first responders that saved him.

"I'm truly blessed and thankful they saved my life," said Noel Ayala.

The 16-year-old tried to ride his bike across Sinking Creek Saturday morning near E. Adams Avenue, but the normally dry creek bed was a swift river due to flash flooding.

Ayala lost control but managed to stay afloat until he reached a telephone pole which he held on to for almost 30 minutes before first responders reached him

"When I started pedaling, I went through and a piece of log interfered while I was pedaling, I lost balance and slipped off," said Ayala.

Crews with the Lebanon Fire Department, Lebanon Police Department and Wilson County EMA responded.

Three firefighters/EMT's, Jason Gass, Sean Grizzle and Jeff Davenport, came up with a plan to rescue him.

Gass was able to reach the teen on the utility pole while the other two men waited on the other side to picked them up from the water.

"Without them it couldn't have been done, I had faith they would get me out and they did," said Gass.

It took them about five minutes to remove him from the pole. No one was seriously injured.

Ayala met up with the firefighters Tuesday to say thank you.

"I'm just thankful to be here to be able to service the community where I live," said Gass.

Typically, the Lebanon Fire Department receives 15 to 20 calls on a busy weekend. After Sunday, they received nearly 200 calls mainly because of the floods.