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SAVING LIVES: Fireman, police rescue two people

February 5, 2013

COLUMBIA CITY — A Churubusco fireman and a pair of Columbia City Police officers saved two lives over the weekend. Ben Rinker, of Churubusco’s Fire Department, pulled a man from a burning house Friday night.
Officers Shad Hunter and Doug Eber saved a woman from an attempted suicide attempt at Park Terrace Sunday.

After a woman barricaded herself in an apartment and attempted to hang herself, Hunter and Eber entered the residence and saved her life.
“She was already passed out,” Eber said. “Had we not found her, she would’ve died.”

Eber and fellow officer Hunter were dispatched to the residence after a disturbance complaint. The woman was allegedly in the hallway kicking a door.

“When Officer Hunter arrived, the medics were walking out and said she went in an apartment and locked the door,” Eber said. “We were knocking on the door and she wouldn’t answer it.”

Eber said because she was locked inside and they didn’t have exigent circumstances (emergency conditions) they had no choice but to leave.
“I almost got to my car and Shad looked back and thought he saw her through the window of the apartment,” Eber said. “He went in the building to check the door. When he was walking back out. He looked in the window and saw a chair barricaded against the door.”

Eber said Hunter then saw the woman hanging from a wall fixture.
“We kicked the door in, I held her up and Shad took the rope off her neck.”

The woman had an initial extremely high blood alcohol content of .31 after a breathalyzer test.

“Had Shad not made a double-check back there, she would’ve succeeded,” Eber said. “Shad was sharp enough to take another look.”

The woman’s identity is being withheld to protect her medical privacy.
Smith Township Fireman Rinker saved a 63-year-old man, Stephan Harris, from his burning home. Area media reports that Rinker and his family were driving south on U.S. 33 when they saw a burning home.
Rinker saw a man inside the engulfed home, and carried him out before he was consumed by fire.

Rinker, a captain at STFD, has been on the department for 12 years.

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