Bargersville firefighter caps Florida family vacation by saving a life

Bargersville Battalion Chief David Porter had it reinforced recently that some first responders are never really off-duty. (Photo: WTHR)

BARGERSVILLE, Ind. (WTHR) — Firefighters train all the time for accidents and potential rescues. But one firefighter in Bargersville never thought he'd have to use that training while on vacation.

Bargersville Battalion Chief David Porter encountered sunshine, surf and something unexpected while on spring break in St. Petersburg, Florida.

"It was nice weather and quite exciting at times," Porter said, laughing.

It was their last full day of vacation when Porter's family went from a spot on the beach to relaxing at the hotel pool.

"Some commotion started and I heard somebody say 'go get her' and my daughter come running for me and said 'there's a lady at the bottom of the pool' and then, next thing you know, there was a lady face down, 9-and-a-half feet deep in the pool."

She wasn't breathing and didn't have a pulse.

"At that point, another firefighter from Tampa that was off-duty — didn't get his name or anything — came up and said 'hey I'm a firefighter from Tampa what do you need?' I'm like, we gotta do CPR."

As a firefighter in Bargersville Porter trains for emergencies all the time, from rescues on farm equipment to house fires. So it was no surprise that even on a family vacation in Florida, his lifesaving skills kicked in.

"He and I did three rounds of CPR, got her pulse back, she started breathing and she was talking to the medics when she left," Porter recounted. "I think the stars just aligned for the lady. The good Lord was looking out for her, so had we not been there, I don't know what would have happened, but fortunately we were."

The resort sent Porter a text the next day that said the woman who nearly drowned was "grateful to be alive."

He also got a text from his daughter after the rescue. "Dad you're my hero and I'm ready to go home (laughs)," he read.

Porter is hero protecting the public, even off the clock.

"I just feel fortunate I could make a difference that day, so, that would have been a horrible vacation for that family," Porter said.

Porter is back from vacation and back to regular training. He said this whole thing was blown out of proportion, and that he was just doing his job.