El Reno Fire Rescues Woman From Near Drowning, Just Hours After Swift-Water Training


Wednesday, July 14th 2021, 6:56 pm
By: Augusta McDonnell


EL RENO, Oklahoma -

Things could have gone much differently for one woman in crisis at Lake El Reno Tuesday. Crews learned just what they needed to know at the last minute. 

El Reno Fire personnel were wrapping up a day of training at the lake. They were learning swift-water rescue skills. 

“One of the most common rescues is a lot of flooding areas. We do swift-water rescuing many times a year, “said Jason Duff, City of El Reno Fire Chief. 

He said their department trains several times a year to make sure their staff and equipment are ready to go. But their skills were about to be put to the test.

A 911 emergency call came in about 4:30 p.m. Witnesses reported seeing a woman walking out into the lake.

“I think we’re witnessing a suicide,” said the 911 caller. 

El Reno Fire was dispatched. 

“The boat was still wet from training,” said Duff. 

The woman was about 150 yards from shore and struggling to stay above water when crews arrived. 

“She was just bobbing up and down like a cork, I mean she’d go completely under the water and come back up,” said Kenny Schwab, who witnessed the rescue. 

With time running out, the firefighters put their new skills into practice. 

“They probably launched that boat in less than a minute...I think they saved her life,” said Schwab. 

The woman who was rescued from the lake was taken by EMS to a local hospital. She did not have physical injuries due to the incident. 

It is our policy to provide resources for anybody considering self-harm when reporting about a situation involving suicide or a suicide attempt. 

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a hotline for individuals in crisis or for those looking to help someone else. To speak with a certified listener, call 1-800-273-8255.

The Veterans Crisis Line and Military Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 (Press 1) connect veterans and service members in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text.

Crisis Text Line is a texting service for emotional crisis support. To speak with a trained listener, text HELLO to 741741. It is free, available 24/7, and confidential.