Firefighters in bucket catch falling woman

FAIRBANKS — An Alaska woman who had threatened suicide was saved from death when firefighters in the bucket of a platform truck caught her as she dropped from an eighth-story window.

The drama occurred Monday morning outside the Northward Building in downtown Fairbanks.

Police and firefighters took a call at 9:15 a.m. that a woman was threatening to jump from an apartment, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

The woman is in her mid-30s. She does not live in the building, police Lt. Matt Soden said.

Emergency responders spotted the woman with her feet dangling out the window. They closed the street as firefighters moved in with their platform truck.

The truck carries a 100-foot aerial device with a bucket in which firefighters can stand.

Soden and a police negotiator responded to the call. The woman’s relatives assisted negotiators, he said.

Soden was watching from the next window as the bucket arm extended. As it approached the eighth floor, the woman fell.

“It looked like she kind of stepped out over their bucket,” Soden said. “She was hanging out over the building, and she was starting to slip.”

Firefighters said in a news release it was not apparent whether the woman jumped or fell. “Two FFD personnel were in the bucket at the time and were able to catch the person as they fell,” the department said.

The woman was evaluated at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.

Soden could not say what led the woman to the ledge.

Just 20 minutes passed from the initial call to the rescue, assistant fire chief Ernie Misewicz said.

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