MADISON, Ala. - It's been nearly two weeks since a Madison woman was saved from freezing waters, after going in to save her dog. The incident happened at the Somerset Apartment complex on Continental Drive. Madison Fire and Rescue was able to save her, but not her little dog Ollie.
To thank her neighbors and first responders, the woman who was rescued wrote a letter. Sarah Bailey highlighted what it was like in the freezing water, and how she thought she was going to die. "I felt life slipping out of me as my body started to react to the water temperature," she wrote. "The longer I was in there the more I thought I may not make it out."
"She was lucky. I feel like we were equipped well enough. I didn't realize until a day or two afterwards the significance of it," Bobby Phillips of Madison Fire and Rescue said.
It was Phillips first ice rescue after 23 years of working with the team but said the team is always prepared. "We had to lay down and kind of spread wide to go across the ice," Phillips said.
Phillips and Ryan Ledford were the two who entered the icy water to save Bailey and Ollie. "She told me when I got close to her that, 'I'm not a good swimmer.' She didn't really move much or say a lot," Ryan Ledford recalled.
Bailey said there is no adequate way to say thank you. She tells first responders "thank you for being selfless and brave. For allowing me to see my children`s next birthdays, graduations and weddings, and grandchildren."
"We don't always see if we save someone or help someone, we don't always get the outcome, but we did," Phillips said.
"She didn't have to come by or write a letter, she didn't have to thank us. We are here, this is what we do. We are ready to go again today," Ledford said.
Phillips thinks Bailey's story will and has saved the lives of so many.