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Firefighter carries woman on his back in rescue from flooded area

Kathy Macen called 911 when 'there was so much water, it was flooded and the car stopped'
Gabriel Springer rescues Kathy Macen from flooding waters on April 24, 2023.
Posted at 9:25 PM, Apr 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-25 12:34:27-04

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Palm Beach County resident Kathy Macen says she was on her way to do some shopping at the PGA Plaza on Monday afternoon.

"Today was absolutely one of the worst," she said. "So quickly because the rain came quickly. I was on my way to Trader Joes."

She never made it to the store. "And all of sudden I decided to go in the side entrance, thinking it would be easier than going across PGA Boulevard. And I went to take the turn around the little corner, and there was so much water, it was flooded and the car stopped."

Macen said she was scared because the water kept rising. She called 911.

Firefighters rescued her-- literally.

"I got a piggyback ride, thanks to this tall, handsome, lovely fireman and his associate was just as nice," she said. "They were trying so hard to help me."

A picture of Gabriel Springer, who rescued Kathy, was posted on social media.

"I just so much appreciate the caring and the sensitivity that the fire department gives," Macen said. "They just cannot be commended enough."
Cory Bessette with Palm Beach Gardens Fire Rescue said: "A large amount of rain in a short period of time is sometimes we have these. But the water receded very quickly."
Macen has admired firefighters for years. It dates back to 9/11.

"They are my heroes. My daughter passed away on 9/11 in the World Trade Center and I know how many firefighters were lost on that awful day. So they are my heroes for a lifetime.
Macen can't thank her rescuers enough.

"And let me tell you I was really touched by how sensitive they were and how much time they spent with me and how quickly they got me out of that car," she said.