NORTHFIELD, N.J. (CBS)—A routine call from a Northfield firefighter is being credited with saving an elderly woman’s life in South Jersey.
Firefighter Ben Nixon, who has been with the department for more than 11 years, makes numerous calls every morning as part of the Northfield Fire Department’s “Lifeline Program.”
Through the program, the department checks on elderly residents daily. If they don’t answer, a firefighter makes a stop at their house to check on them.
“We make a phone call every morning at a certain time and make sure they are alright,” says Nixon. “And if they don’t answer–we try up to three or four times–and if they don’t answer within a half hour usually we run over to the residence.”
But on Thursday, Nixon made one of those calls and an elderly woman didn’t answer her phone.
“When I got there, her front door was open. The screen door was closed but the front door was open, and I noticed her newspaper was sitting on the front porch,” Dixon said.
Thinking it was odd, the 34-year-old firefighter says he made entry into the home with the help of police to help find the woman.
“I started calling her name and I didn’t hear an answer at first,” Dixon says. “Then I heard a faint answer when I went upstairs. And she said, ‘I am in here,’ and I checked the bedroom and I didn’t see her.”
After a further search of the home Dixon was able to find the woman stuck in her attic.
“I found the attic door and it was locked. I asked her if she was OK and she said, ‘No I fell,’” said Dixon.
Dixon says the woman was cooking dinner and and somehow fell in the attic around 5 p.m. Wednesday. She would lie there for more than 15 hours until he came to her rescue.
Dixon says she suffered significant injuries but it could have been a lot worse.
The Northfield Fire Department routinely checks up on 16-20 patients a day through the free program.
But it’s much more than phone call for these residents.
“For some of these people we’re the only phone call they get all day because they don’t have family,” Dixon said. “Most of the patients even refer to the firefighters as their sons.”
To learn more about Northfield’s Lifeline Program CLICK HERE.