Four Utah firefighters who thought they were responding to a routine grass fire call stumbled upon the would-be hanging of a woman under an overpass and didn’t hesitate to act.
The incident took place in Parleys Canyon on Friday, according to KSL, and resulted in the arrest of 22-year-old Juan Echeveste Alba.
The firefighters are being hailed as heroes, because authorities believe a woman would be dead today if they hesitated.
Sgt. Randy Riches of the State Department of Investigations told KSL that the firefighters are "the real heroes in this thing."
"They took action where they saw it needed to be. They didn’t hesitate. They rushed right in. They’re the real heroes in this thing," he said. "Without them, who knows what would have happened to her?"
"The male has a rope tied around the female’s neck and strung from a pipe about 15 feet in the air on the side of the structure. And it appears to the firefighters he’s trying to hoist her by her neck and hang her," he added.
According to the police report, Alba was allegedly seen pulling on a rope "strung over a metal pipe with the other end of the rope around the female’s neck" and that the woman was "crying and attempting to grab at the rope that was around her neck."
Unified Fire Authority spokesman Eric Holmes said that the firefighters were alerted to the situation when they spotted a car blocking the road of an I-80 underpass.
Holmes called it an "amazing story."
"I guess it’s better to be lucky than good sometimes. Had it not been for the smoke call and had they gone one more exit, they never would have found her. Pretty amazing story," Holmes said.
Alba allegedly tried to run away from the firefighters, but they didn’t allow him to leave with the woman and successfully detained him until troopers arrived.
Right now, Alba is in a heap of trouble.
Between active attempted murder and aggravated kidnapping investigations and a federal detainer, he’s looking at a big-time prison sentence.
It's not immediately clear how much time behind bars he would face upon conviction.
The victim escaped with minor cuts and bruising.
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