Fayetteville: Rescue efforts lauded

Louis Izzo is a lucky man. In July, four men from the Department of Public Works rescued him from his dangling Ford Ranger that nearly dropped eight feet into a creek.

DPW employees were working on Powder Mill Road when they saw Izzo's pick-up truck begin to slide down the sidewall of a culvert. He was attempting to turn around to avoid the work site.

"I was hanging at about a 45-degree angle on the edge of the road over the creek," Izzo said. "I'm looking right down at the rocks, fortunately there wasn't much water in the creek, and the car was at a precarious angle."

Izzo didn't move, not even to pull his cell phone from his pocket.

"I was afraid a little nudge and over I would go," he said. "Before I could even think what else to do the boys were right there."

The boys -- Bill Bates, Bill Way, Sean Daley and Stephen Burns -- reacted immediately.

Burns and Bates secured the truck with a chain, then pulled Izzo from the truck and out of harm's way.

"I'm really surprised that the truck didn't roll down," Burns said. "When I was under it hooking the chain on it, I was pretty sure it would roll while I was under it."

Burns, a volunteer fireman with the North Chittenango Fire Department, said he was pretty calm throughout the ordeal.

"I'm kind of used to stuff like that," he said.

The other three also remained in control of the situation. Way and Daley made the 911 calls and contacted the department as to their whereabouts.

The Manlius Fire Department and Police Department arrived on the scene within minutes.

"From when he first went into the ditch to when fire crews got there, it was probably 10 to 15 minutes," Burns said. "It was pretty quick."

Mayor Mark Olson acknowledged the crew Aug. 20, proclaiming the highest honor for "performing above and beyond the call of duty and service."

"We weren't expected to be awarded," Burns said, sounding like a true hero. "We just went and did it."

As for Izzo, his respect toward the foursome remains with reason.

"These guys certainly saved my bacon," he said. "I wasn't gonna die, but I would have lost the car and everything."

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