Off-Duty Hudson Firefighter Helps Save a Life in Hooksett

January 11, 2019

 

by David S. Morin

“The funny thing about firemen is… night and day they are always firemen.” This line from the movie “Backdraft” aptly describes Hudson Firefighter Andrew Perkins who on Jan. 4 saved the life of a man about to jump off a bridge.

While off-duty, Firefighter Perkins and his wife, Tiffany, were driving through Hooksett when they spotted a man perched on the other side of the bridge railing on the Main Street Bridge over the Merrimack River. Responding immediately, Perkins stopped his vehicle and cautiously approached the man as his wife dialed 911. Knowing through experience that the man was troubled, he, along with another motorist, slowly approached the railing and calmly began to speak to the young man. The young man did not want to speak to anyone and was uncooperative and screaming at his would-be rescuers.

Perkins’ wife, expecting a child, remained in their vehicle and said the whole scene seemed surreal to her. The scene unfolding was not what she expected. As a teacher, she works with troubled kids and understands that a low-key and caring approach must be taken in these situations. Realizing how dangerous the scenario was, she said she never took her eyes off her husband as he attempted to help the man. As she watched, the possibility of her husband being injured or pulled over the rail by the man, brought her great concern.

Perkins and the second motorist continued to try to talk the man to come back over the rail as other motorists began to gather at the side of the road. As Hooksett firefighters arrived at the scene and the crowd got larger, the man let go of the rail and Perkins jumped forward reaching over the rail and placed the man in a bear hug to keep him from jumping, as the assisting motorist secured the man’s legs. Together they pulled the man over the rail and to the ground. Perkins said they held the man and were able to calm him down before the ambulance arrived 10 minutes later when he was placed on a stretcher and transported to a medical facility.

Tiffany said when her husband got back into the truck, she immediately asked if he was okay, and Perkins’ answer was “let’s go to your brother’s.” The ride to her brother’s home was just as normal as if nothing had taken place. Once they arrived, for a long time nothing was said about the event that had just taken place on the bridge.

Finally she said, “Are you going to tell them that you just saved someone’s life?

Perkins’ answer was “that’s just what I do.”

His comment was not meant to be misconstrued as egotistical or conceited as Firefighter Perkins is very laid back and handles his firefighter duties each and every day with a calm demeanor. It’s what he is trained to do and what he’s paid to do. When talking with him, he will tell you he did nothing special and that any another firefighter would have done the same in that situation.

He is a hero and the town of Hudson is fortunate to have firefighters like Perkins who are there in emergencies to save others.