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Flood-Engulfed Victim: Firefighter Saved My Life

Flood-Engulfed Victim: Firefighter Saved My Life

Off-duty Somerville firefighter Michael Marino guides Christine Broderick of Somerville out of the flooded Mystic Avenue tunnel.

Boston Globe via YellowBrix

July 11, 2010

SOMERVILLE, MA – An off-duty Somerville firefighter braved a raging flash flood to pull a woman off the roof of her floating car and drag her to safety as a pounding rainstorm hit the Boston area yesterday afternoon.

“He saved my life,” said Christine Broderick, 45, of Somerville, who wore a soaked “I’m Purrfect” T-shirt with a picture of a cat.

Her car and at least four other vehicles were trapped when heavy rainwater flooded the Fellsway Tunnel along the McGrath Highway in Somerville yesterday afternoon. Fortunately for Broderick, firefighter Michael Marino of Engine 1 was on his way to work when the cars were stranded.

“It just took my car,” Broderick said. “It started doing circles. I can’t swim. I had to climb out on my roof.”

That’s where Marino found her. He used a white lifesaver doughnut attached to a rope to pull her to safety. He waded into the sewage-strewn water and pulled Broderick off her car roof and back on to the road, where she was hosed off and brought home by state police.

“She was a little nervous, she lost her glasses and said she couldn’t swim,” said Marino, a former Navy diver. “I talked to her and tried to calm her down. I asked her, ‘What she was having for dinner?’ ”

Hours later the two reunited on McGrath highway with a big smile and hug. Broderick said: “I’m glad you were there. I don’t know what I would have done. He’s a lifesaver; he deserves a medal.”

Driving behind Broderick as the flood hit was Jennifer DeLacey, 19, of Malden, taking a friend home in a 1996 Honda Accord after a day in Harvard Square.

She said she saw Broderick’s Hyundai Santa Fe in trouble as the water began rising around her own car. “I tried to back out but the car kept spinning,” DeLacey said. She said she panicked and called her dad on her cell phone. She tried to back up out of the tunnel but the car was stuck. “I pushed the door open and the water came rushing in,” she said.

DeLacey and her friend escaped on foot, though she lost her gold-colored flats and her phone.