First responders who saved man from sinking car in Lauderhill canal recall frantic rescue

LAUDERHILL, Fla. – First responders from Lauderhill Fire Rescue describe the effort to rescue a man from a canal at an apartment complex during Tropical Storm Eta.

That man, identified as 55-year-old Nerosier Valcy, is expected to survive.

“We needed all hands on deck with the tremendous conditions we were facing,” said Lieutenant Cliff Petty.

Lieutenant Joel Moniz and Engineer Michael Lombardi said when they arrived on scene in the 4200 block of Northwest 19th Street, they could see Valcy’s car slowly sinking and tipping forward. They used a center punch to break the rear window.

A Good Samaritan had tied a rope to the trunk of the car and was able to secure it before rescuers arrived.

“I start clearing out the glass, and I look, and I go, ‘I think I got this guy,’” Lombardi recalled.

Valcy was described as being unresponsive at first. Paramedics Justin Wells and Steven Rivera put him on a stretcher and performed CPR.

“It was about two feet of water. It was very difficult to bring that stretcher from the truck,” Wells said.

Added Rivera: “We worked fast, and he was able to be responsive, probably within three minutes.”

Witnesses that night believe Nerosier was looking for parking in the apartment complex, but flooding made it nearly impossible to discern where the parking lot ended, and the canal began.

Nerosier’s family tells Local 10 he is improving at Broward Health Medical Center. Investigators say he is now breathing and eating on his own.

Battalion Chief Ryan Hicks, who also went into the water for the rescue, said he would like to thank the bystander who secured Valcy’s vehicle.

“If we could find out his name, we’d like to thank him. He’s the one who did tie the rope,” Hicks said.

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