CARP – Last summer, Ottawa Fire Service (OFS) District 6 Chief Bill Bell jumped in to the Ottawa River for a midnight rescue of a motorist trapped in her car with water rising and already at her neck.

Last night, Bell was honoured with the OFS Fire Chief’s Award of Bravery for that act of heroism.

OFS Chief Kim Ayotte presented Bell with the honour at a brand new rural west training facility (story coming early next week) last night (March 3) during a small ceremony in a break during the weekly training session.

West Carleton Online spoke with Bell June 21, just several hours after his successful rescue, about the incident.

“I said, ‘hear we go,’” Bell said at the time of the incident. “I think I used the words I’ll see what I can do.”

 Bell said the water was up to the driver’s neck. He could see the headlights of the vehicle four feet or so submerged below the water. The front door was not opening for some reason and Bell broke the driver’s side window. Despite the glass, Bell chose the lesser of two evils and helped the motorist escape through the window.

“We were able to pull her out with no injuries,” Bell said. “Any first responder would have it in their wiring to try to save a life.”

“The Fire Chief’s Award of Bravery presented to District 6 Chief Bill Bell for his heroic efforts rescuing the driver of a submerging car in the Ottawa River,” Ayotte released in a statement yesterday (March 3). “Congratulations on this well-deserved decoration, Chief Bell.”