On June 1, 2018 just after 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon, a man was planning to jump off of the Jefferson St. overpass on the 10 Freeway in Indio. Cal Fire Riverside County Fire Station 86 in Indio received the emergency call.
“It’s not everyday that we get somebody on the overpass of the freeway, those calls are one in a million,” says firefighter / paramedic Kyle Wilmore.
Firefighter Travis Ames says as the crew raced to the scene many questions ran through their minds, “Is he over the center divider, is he over the freeway, are we going to be able to access him, his mindset, has he already jumped?”
Engineer Al Moreno says the crew got to work on the way there, “We were thinking if we can’t reach with the ladder maybe set up a rope system we start thinking of tactics and strategies on how we’re going to help this guy out.”
When they got to the scene they were relieved the man had not jumped they decide quickly firefighter Ames would be the one to talk him down from danger.
Moreno knew he had a big job to do: get the ladder to the exact spot smoothly, without hurting or scaring the man already driven to the edge, “So we used a lot of hand signals and he got me in the right place.”
Ames now over 20 feet up in the air with someone who is not in the right state of mind , was risking his own life.
“By signing up to be a fireman those are risks that you’re willing to take to save another life,” says Ames.
But now how to lend a hand to a man who doesn’t think he’s worth saving?
“He’s angry, he’s angry, and I just continue to try to talk calmly and try to reassure him,” says Ames adding that the ledge was slick and with sharp corners dangerous even for someone not planning to jump, “as we continued to move the ladder he continued to move as well which I wanted to minimize I didn’t want him crawling around up there and potentially slipping.”
So Ames had to convince him to come to him after about 20 minutes, he did, “When I saw him lower himself onto the ladder I thought … we got him.
They all describe this as a team effort including the quick action of the CHP, the Indio Police Department and each other.