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Firefighter, Police Officer Honored as Heroes After Saving Couple from Pond

Firefighter, Police Officer Honored as Heroes After Saving Couple from Pond

Westmont firefighter Brendan Sullivan and Westmont Police Officer Jennifer Muska during a press conefernce to discuss their rescue efforts.

Chicago Tribune via YellowBrix

March 31, 2010

WESTMONT, IL – A Westmont police officer and firefighter scoffed at being called heroes Tuesday despite diving into a frigid retention pond to save an elderly couple whose car plunged into the water.

“I didn’t think about what I was doing; I just did it,” Officer Jennifer Muska said. “In a situation like that your adrenaline kicks in.”

Added firefighter Brendan Sullivan, “It’s just part of the job. I won’t say I’m a hero.”

Police said Westmont residents LeRoy Hurlburt, 67, and his wife, Perla, 70, were traveling south on Richmond Avenue near 63rd Street on Monday evening when their 1992 Toyota Tercel veered right and entered the pond.

Muska, 27, the first responder, said it was dark, but she spotted a man moving his arms in the water. Muska jumped into the chilly water and swam to LeRoy Hurlburt, about 15 feet from the shore. Muska said the man was alert and floating on his back.

After pulling him to shore, Muska saw a woman in the water. The officer jumped back into the pond but had to return to shore because the water was too cold and murky, she said.

Minutes later, firefighters arrived, and Sullivan, 20, immediately entered the water. He said he was guided to the submerged vehicle by the smell of gasoline but could not see anything. Sullivan said there was no sign of Perla Hurlburt until he felt her hair under the water. He then pulled her to the surface.

She was taken to the shore, where a second firefighter performed CPR on the woman, who was estimated to have been underwater for about 10 minutes and was not breathing.

LeRoy Hurlburt is in good condition, but his wife remained in critical condition at Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove.

Both Muska and Sullivan were taken to the hospital and later released.

Chief of Police Thomas Mulhearn said LeRoy Hurlburt called from his hospital bed and asked to have his thanks passed along to Muska and Sullivan.