Woman Attempts To Jump Off Building; Hero To The Rescue

By KBJR News 1

February 23, 2013 Updated Feb 23, 2013 at 2:19 PM CDT

Duluh, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Members of Duluth's Clean and Safe team control litter, reduce panhandling, and provide directions to those who are lost, but there is more behind their bright neon green and royal blue uniforms.

As one of the members found out, saving lives is also a part of his job description.

July 28th is a day Don Pfuhl will never forget.

The part–time employee, assigned to promote hospitality and safety in Duluth, was in the midst of working when his patrolling duties took an unimaginable turn.

He heard a woman yell to him from the parking ramp, saying she was going to jump.

"I heard this woman yelling, do you care? I had no idea that she was up here at all. I couldn't see this corner," Don Pfuhl, Clean and Safe Team member, said.

She was three stories up.

Pfuhl then looked over his shoulder and saw the woman sitting on the wall.

"So, then as I was walking down here, I called 911 on the cell phone and basically told them what was going on. About where you're standing is as close to her that I got when she went over the wall and I just luckily grabbed her, " Pfuhl said.

Pfuhl says the woman was sitting on the ledge and when he ran to help she then rolled over on her stomach and began to fall off.

"I grabbed her by the wrists like this. And after that, I just hung on," Pfuhl said.

Officials say her weight combined with the humidity that day made the struggle much more difficult.

"Kinda painful in the hands. Other than that, I just wanted to get her back on this side of the wall," Pfuhl said.

Pfuhl says while holding on, she looked up at him and said don't let go.

Pfuhl says more than five minutes passed before Duluth Police Officers arrived and eventually, together, pulled the woman over the ledge to safety.

"I'm just glad it had a good outcome. I've never seen her before and I've never seen her after. I was just doing my job that's all it really was," Pfuhl said.

For Pfuhl's heroic duties that day, Duluth Police awarded him with the Chief Citizen Partnership Award.

"He was in the right place at the right time. And it just goes to show, I think, how much the clean and safe team is out and about and really making the rounds in the downtown area—looking out for things—trying to keep the area safe, clean and friendly," Kristi Stokes, Greater Downtown Council member, said.

Stokes says the added value of the Clean and Safe Team is tremendous and Pfuhl's events are just one example of the team's accomplishments.

The woman he pulled to safety hasn't come forward, but Pfuhl says he wishes her well.

"It's something I wouldn't want to go through again, that's for sure. After it happened, I just put it out of my mind. It was just another day on the job," Pfuhl said.

Kristi Stokes with the Greater Downtown Council says there are five Clean and Safe Team members on the street each day during the winter.

During the summer, there are eleven.

Justin Reis, NNC.