Baby rescued from storm drain

8:41 PM, Apr 30, 2012   |    comments
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EAST POINT, Ga. -- It was as if he'd dropped through a trap door.  A terrified East Point mother said she watched her one-year-old baby boy fall down a storm drain Sunday evening while they were sitting on the edge of their street.  She frantically called 911, and firefighters were on the scene within minutes. 

PHOTOS | Firefighter rescues baby from storm drain 

VIDEO | Interview: Rosa Tullie, East Point Fire Department 

"I was saying if you all don't hurry up I'm going to jump in there myself," mother Tpring Brown said she told the dispatcher.

But when the East Point Fire Department arrived and lifted the drain's cover, the opening was too small for a normal sized person to fit through.  They called in their compact rescue specialist, 4 foot eleven inch firefighter Rosa Tullis.

"In the cars, in the windows, down the holes, typically it's going to be me because I am the smallest," Tullis said Monday.  "I'm slightly claustrophobic and I'm not comfortable with it, but I'm definitely the likely choice."

She's used to it by now.  Last year Tullis got an award from her department for rescuing two animals from 30-foot storm drains.  Without her extra gear on, Tullis barely fit through the drain's opening Sunday.  She was then lowered down with a harness.  She couldn't reach the child on her first try, but was successful on her second.  She lifted him over her head and up to safety.  Both of them got away with minor scrapes and bruises. 

"That's when the tears came, it was just great to get him and see that he was safe," Tullis said.  "It definitely was a joint effort, so everybody was laughing, hugging, cheering and clapping."

Tullis is now getting requests for interviews from both local and national media outlets.  She is trying to balance them with several other part-time jobs.  Even with her fear of small spaces, Tullis said she'd rather go down another storm drain that have to continue to run through the media gauntlet. 

"[The rescue] was relatively quick, just a half hour or so," Tullis said.  "[The media attention] looks like it's going to go on for a few more days, but I don't really mind."

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