In an unprecedented rescue operation, firefighters in Gastonia, North Carolina, demonstrated incredible bravery and skill as they saved an impaired, naked woman who had climbed 175 feet up a 200-foot monopole cell tower owned by TowerCom.
The incident unfolded off of Love Street on Sunday evening, leaving both the rescuers and the woman herself in awe of the outcome.
Authorities received a call reporting an individual inside the fenced-off area surrounding a communications tower at 16 Burlington Avenue. When police officers arrived at the scene, they encountered a woman wearing only shorts.
She then began to climb the monopole and Ranlo Fire and Rescue were summoned for assistance. The scene quickly escalated as multiple agencies, including the Gastonia Fire and Police departments, Lowell Police Department, Gaston County Emergency Management, Gaston Emergency Medical Services, Gaston County Sheriff, and Gaston County Communications, joined forces to orchestrate the rescue.
The Gastonia Fire Department arrived at the location equipped with a 100-foot ladder. However, now fully naked, the woman had already ascended to approximately 175 feet, requiring a high-angle rescue.
Gastonia Fire Captain Barron Summey and firefighter Michael Chafin ascended the structure, and the intense rescue operation unfolded over approximately an hour and a half, with the woman clinging precariously to the tower’s step bolts.
Tragedy was averted when the impaired woman lost her grip and started to plummet. In a miraculous turn of events, Summey managed to grab her leg, arresting her fall.
In an interview with media, Summey recounted the rescue, saying, “No warning at all, she just fell backwards,” and he attributed the successful catch to “nothing more than the grace of God that we were able to make that happen.”
Chafin, positioned just below Sumney, rushed to assist in securing the woman. “I climbed up as quick as I could and just bearhugged her to the pole,” Chafin recalled. “I don’t know if that was luck or God or what,” he added, echoing the sentiments of his colleagues.