Sterling Heights firefighter saves boy who fell into river

Sterling Heights firefighter saves boy who fell into the Clinton River

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Firefighter David Gonczar saved Hunter Bullard after he fell into the Clinton River. Firefighter David Gonczar saved Hunter Bullard after he fell into the Clinton River.
STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. (WJBK) -

A few days ago, eleven-year-old Hunter Bullard went to the Clinton River.

"I really like turtles, so I wanted to catch one," he said.

So naturally he went down by the water despite the fact that his dad said don't.

"There was a lot of mud, so I slid and fell in," Bullard said.

"My son and I were riding bikes, and we heard frantic screaming and crying," said Dan Fountain.

It was Bullard hanging on for dear life.

"We looked back and there's a kid in the river... holding onto branches, and the water's trying to take him away," Fountain said. "It was very intense."

Another witness called 911 while Fountain stayed close trying to keep Bullard calm.

"He kept saying, 'I'm slipping. I can't hold on. The water's taking me,'" Fountain explained.

Then seemingly out of nowhere, Fountain said, "a man was running up, one fireman."

One fireman, a battalion chief, David Gonczar from Station 5 in Sterling Heights.

"I said, 'We're coming to get you,'" Gonczar explained.

"I thought it was unreal how he just went right to it, jumped right in there, got right at it," Fountain said. "It was amazing because he was running full speed down the trail."

"I didn't have really time to wait for the rest of the resources," Gonczar said.

"He ran out, threw a rope out and a bag to him," Fountain said.

"He told me to hold onto it, and then he got in the river and got me out," Bullard said.

"I lifted him out, and by the time I was just about to the shore, our other arriving companies got there, and I was able to get Hunter off to one of our other firefighters," Gonczar said.

"I'm thankful for him saving me," Bullard said. "I really needed help. I couldn't get out myself."

"Firefighters don't just put the wet stuff on the red stuff anymore. You are trained to do pretty much anything and everything in a moment's notice," Gonczar said.

He is one of the good guys and thank goodness for that.

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