Massillon, OH – A heroic Massillon police officer helped save a total of six lives while responding to two separate emergencies on Monday morning (video below).
The day had been fairly quiet at the Massillon Police Department (MPD) when Officer Aaron Franklin went on shift at 2 p.m., the Akron Beacon Journal reported.
But approximately an hour later, everything changed.
Officers received a report that a group of juveniles were swept away following a heavy rainstorm, and that they were trapped at the top of a steep culvert.
Officer Franklin was the first to arrive at the scene, and quickly made his way down a slick, muddy embankment to the edge of the rushing water, bodycam footage showed.
“You guys alright?” he hollered to two juveniles, who were trapped at the top of a culvert. “Stay right there! You will get swept [away]. Don’t move!”
Officer Franklin radioed that there was “no way” he would be able to reach the kids without assistance.
As he made his way up the embankment, a bystander told the officer that at least one juvenile had gone “all the way down” the culvert, video footage showed.
Officer Franklin soon discovered that not one, but three juveniles had been swept away, in addition to the two kids who were still trapped at the top of the culvert.
The officers and Massillon firefighters tossed a flotation device tethered with a rope down to the teens, and one of them managed to make his way out of the water.
“Oh my God – I’m never being a f--king hero again,” the boy told Officer Franklin. “I’m never saving anyone ever again, Franklin.”
As they pulled the second teen to safety, he told his rescuers that he was pretty sure he could hear his friends yelling from further down inside the culvert.
Massillon Fire Chief Tom Burgasser strapped himself into a life jacket tethered to a rope, and made his way down into the culvert with the flotation device, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.
Minutes later, the rescuers pulled the flotation ring back, but no one was holding onto it, the video showed.
Officer Franklin tossed the ring out again, and a frantic boy made his way out of the water using the device a short while later.
Minutes later, the rescuers pulled the fourth boy and Chief Burgasser from the rushing water.
Police said that water carried the fifth teen through the culvert beneath the city for about a half mile before he was able to grab onto a ladder access tower, where officers pulled him to safety, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.
Officer Franklin and Chief Burgasser said that it took everyone working together to save the boys.
“He was hanging onto a tree trunk [in the water]. There was no rope tied to him,” the chief said of Officer Franklin. “It was a cooperative effort. It took all of us.”
The soaked first responders made their way to the fire station, where the boys were reunited with their families.
But before he had an opportunity to dry his uniform or catch a moment’s rest, Officer Franklin was called to respond to a crash involving a driver who was turning blue.
When he got to the scene, the vehicle was still in gear, and the driver was slumped over the wheel.
Officer Franklin pulled the unresponsive male driver from the vehicle, and laid him on the roadway while bystanders helped to redirect traffic around them.
Witnesses said they suspected the man was experiencing a heroin overdose.
Officer Franklin then directed a bystander to go get a Narcan packet from his patrol car.
After administering the opioid-reversal drug, Officer Franklin performed chest compressions due to the fact that the unresponsive man’s heartbeat was faint.
The man’s pulse strengthened just before emergency medical personnel arrived at the scene.
He was rushed to a local hospital, and was later charged with driving under the influence, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.
Officer Franklin, an Army veteran and four-year member of the MPD, helped save the lives of six people in less than two hours.
“My stance is every day in this line of work you show up and you never know what’s in store for you,” he told the Akron Beacon Journal. “Life-saving events happen all over the city almost daily. It just so happened that it all fell in the same window, and I happened to be there for both [incidents].”
“I’m no hero,” he added. “I’m just doing my job as any [first responder] in this city would do. It’s what we swore to do, and it’s what we will do.”
You can watch bodycam footage of the rescues in the videos below: