Off-duty firefighters rescue 76-year old man whose kayak capsized

(Provided photo)

Rochester, N.Y. - A day off was anything but for two off-duty Rochester firefighters on Tuesday.

Captain Scott Daly and his firefighter partner Rich Brongo went on a trip in Lewiston to fish in the Niagara River.

But that trip turned into a rescue mission.

"We were stopped by some county workers said who there was a man in the water," Daly said.

A 76-year-old man's kayak capsized. His wife made it to shore and called 911.

The Lewiston Fire Department's rescue boat was out of service, and the Coast Guard was unavailable.

Daly was the only one nearby with boat.

"We were just at the right place at the right time,” he said.

Daly launched his boat into the river, and a police officer hopped in.

“At first we couldn’t see him," Daly said. "He was far enough down river, we had to get underway. And [then we] found him. We grabbed ahold of him, and brought and picked him up on board. When you’re in water that long sometimes, you can lose your motor functions."

The 20-year fire veteran said the man had been in the water for five to ten minutes. The concern was hypothermia setting in.

“He didn’t say much," said Daly. "I don’t know if he was in shock or extremely cold. But he was thankful before we left. So he thanked us.”

Daly said the man’s life jacket saved him.

“He was lucky," Daly said. "It was his lucky day. Somebody was watching over him.”

Daly said he and Brongo did end up having a good fishing day after all.

He also mentioned that the City of Rochester is working on getting a fire rescue boat to dock at the Port of Rochester Marina.

This would be the first for our area.

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