Niagara Falls Residents Tell Lifesaving Stories from Weekend's Storm

6:10 PM, Jul 25, 2013   |    comments
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Niagara Falls Blvd, by Stephanie Cook

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. - Two Niagara Falls residents were honored by the city Wednesday night, after their heroic acts during the storm that hit the falls over the weekend.

City officials say if these two hadn't stepped in -- lives may have been lost.

For example, two people could've died Friday night in the falls, in one section of College Avenue where a bridge crosses. But, 44-year-old Mark Dier stepped in to save their lives. He lives in the area.

"We heard a noise, I said boy, there's an animal down there or a duck," said Dier.

Around 11 p.m. he stepped out of his home -- feeling like it was his duty to assist and came to the bridge's train tracks.

"To look over and see how high the water was on both sides of the road and how far out, never seen it flood so far out before," he said.

Dier says he saw a woman about 20-years-old, who had driven into the water and managed to get out. The water was about five feet high.

"I knew she was frightened, tired and she needed help," Dier said.

So, Dier came down a hill and went to rescue her.

"I was wading in the water, which was chest height, right about here and deeper and deeper as I go," he said, while pointing to a concrete wall on College Ave., "right about here is where I found her and she was trying to hold onto these [branches], I reached her and I told her I had her, she's going to be alright."

Then, he brought her along the wall to safety.

This is when Mayor Paul Dyster says he got to the scene to get crews to close off the road.

"The credit goes to him, not just to be courageous, to get in the water, but he was listening to see if there was anyone else who required rescue," Dyster said.

Dier tells 2 On Your Side the most memorable part of the experience was, "helping somebody out that needed help and hoping there's still people out there that would do the same if somebody else was in need."

Dier says he also stopped an off-duty Border Patrol officer, who was close to driving into the water.

Mary Basile, a Niagara Falls woman, who lives in that neighborhood and helped keep drivers from the water was also honored. She was unavailable Wednesday, but texted 2 On Your Side's Jeff Preval this message:

"My husband got home telling me he was stuck in the water under the bridge on college. I went outside to the car, thinking we could push it, which was unsuccessful. I noticed another truck behind ours so I walked in the water over to the truck and there was an elderly woman. By then, the water was up to my waist, I asked her if she called the police she said yes. I said ok I'm going to my house to call the tow truck. I then walked back to my house, which was about two blocks and called my mother to call the tow truck, which she did and they said they were on their way. I walked back to the flood area where my husbands car was, while walking down I see the head lights of my husband's car was submerged under water. My focus became the SUV behind the car, I started to walk towards the truck with the elderly woman in it, as I walked the water got deeper and deeper, but I needed to make sure she was not in her truck. Finally, I got to her truck and the water had already reached my chest. I'm 5'5'' by the way, any way I looked into the truck and she was still in it, looking at me puzzled. I told her she has to come out of there. The elderly woman said I can't I don't know how, I advised her to give me her things and lift her legs up and climb out of the window and jump onto me. The elderly woman hesitated at first, I said you can't stay there, so she did as I said and I was able to get her out of her truck and we walked (waist deep) out of the water. Later about 30 minutes went by and all the cars were nowhere to be seen. An hour after, I went back outside and met up with the woman I helped - just so happened to be her name was Mary as well! We stood down there looking at the water in disbelief! The next morning I woke up to find all the water gone and three dirty wet smelly cars sit under the bridge to await being towed, due to the flood that over took them! I am writing this to you because I did what anyone would of done in that situation."

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