BAY VILLAGE, Ohio — Jeremy Gillespie stood on the patio of his Air Bnb in Hawaii on Friday and watched a storm roll across the beach.
The 27-year-old Bay Village firefighter took notice as Maui County officials responded to multiple flooding along the coast on Jan. 27.
“Then I saw her run into the sea and I knew something was wrong,” he said.
Maui firefighter Tre Evans-Dumaran was washed down a manhole and began to drown. He was recovered in the ocean by his crew about 50 meters from shore, Gillespie said.
Gillespie, who has worked for the Bay Village Fire Department for about a year and previously at Cleveland EMS, said he initially believed firefighters were recovering debris from the water but soon realized it was the body of Evans- Dumaran act.
“I ran over and introduced myself as a paramedic and asked how I could help,” he said. “He had no pulse at that moment and the firefighters asked if I would help with CPR.”
Maui EMTs responded shortly thereafter with an automated external defibrillator, but it failed because Evans-Dumaran’s body was too wet.
Others brought towels to dry the 24-year-old firefighter, who regained his pulse. He was taken to Maui Memorial Medical Center, where he is in critical condition, according to county officials.
Gillespie said his trust in others was restored when people on holiday stopped to help.
“I was just doing what I was supposed to be doing at the moment,” he said. “It was great to see other people taking action. People need to help people more often. We need more of that in the world.”
Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen Jr. said the community is focused on the firefighter’s recovery and is encouraged by his progress.
“So many in our community, myself and my own family, keep Tre in good thoughts and continue to pray for his well-being,” he said.
“The coming days and weeks will be important for him and his ‘ohana.’ “
Ohana means family in Hawaiian culture.
In a statement, Fire Chief Brad Ventura said the department is grateful for the community’s support.
“Tres ‘ohana and our family of firefighters, along with our community, stand with him in prayer and the Spirit to help him get through the difficult days leading up to his recovery,” he said. “He’s not over the hill yet but every day brings hope and every day we offer our prayers to give him strength.”
Gillespie has not contacted those close to Evans-Dumaran or others at the scene on Friday, but he is hoping all will turn out well.
“We are firefighters. We’re a fraternity,” Gillespie said. “I know he would have done the same for me.”