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Local News

December 11, 2013

Area woman: Fire chief saved my life

A Unadilla woman and a toddler likely owe their lives to Dave Robinson for getting his coat.

Robinson, chief of the Gilbertsville Fire Department, said Tuesday that he was headed out to hunt Sunday, the last day of hunting season, when he realized he needed to return home to get his coat. On his way back down Lilley Hill Road in the town of Butternuts at 12:41 p.m., Robinson said, he noticed swerve marks heading off the road and down into a steep, heavily wooded ravine.

“I just immediately thought, ‘Oh ... no,’” Robinson said.

After making his way down what Robinson estimated to be about a 60-foot ravine, he said he saw an abandoned Jeep in the stream bed, with two car seats inside. Robinson contacted fire control, he said, and followed tracks into the four-mile-deep woods.

After about three quarters of a mile, Robinson said, he heard the voice of a woman and began calling out to her, instructing her to walk back toward his voice.

Danielle M. Fink, 25, was carrying a small child and was extremely disoriented, Robinson said. He said Fink didn’t remember anything other than getting out of her Jeep.

“From the bottom of that ravine, she wouldn’t have seen the road above,” said Scot Lueck, a member of the Gilbertsville Fire Department. “In her state of shock, it’s easy to see how she got confused and started walking in the opposite direction of the road, deeper into the woods.”

Robinson said he tried to calm down the little girl, who he said was probably two or three years old, and then carried Fink and the child back to the vehicle and across a small creek. Members of the Gilbertsville Fire Department threw ropes down and pulled a dazed Fink and the child back up the steep slope, where an ambulance was waiting.

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