Off Duty Firefighter Rescues man from River Des Peres

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

ST. LOUIS, MO. (KPLR) – An off duty St. Louis City firefighter came to the aid of a man on who drove into the River Des Peres on Sunday, Father's Day.

Firefighter Chris Dimza was driving in the area and stopped to see why a crowd of people was pointing toward the river. Dimza, who is part of a water rescue unit stationed in north St. Louis, dove into the river and swam toward bubbles.  A man surfaced briefly and the firefighter managed to bring him safely to shore.

A neighbor who saw part of the rescue said the truck could  not be seen.  "He's fantastic;  he's a hero," said Steve Jacox.  Dimza declined to be interviewed.  Fire Department Public Information Office Capt. Dan Sutter said the young man had been a fireman for about four years and had special training in water rescues.

This is not the first time Dimza has pulled someone to safety.  On Mother's Day in 2005 he and a paramedic rescued several unconscious people from a burning vehicle in the city.

Neighbors believe the man had been driving on Courtois and crossed the River Des Peres Blvd plus a raised grassy area before plunging into the rain swelled river.

Fire Department divers attached cables to the truck so a tow truck could pull it out of the river.  No one else was in the pickup.  The driver was taken to a hospital.   He has not been identified.