Durham officer hailed as 'hero' after icy water rescue

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Durham Police Corp. J.J. Barazandeh helped rescue two women from a car in an icy creek.

A Durham Police corporal is being hailed as a hero for saving two women from an icy creek during Wednesday's snowstorm.

Corp. J.J. Barazandeh was putting chains on his duty vehicle at a garage nearby when he received a call for response to a car in the water.

So about 1 p.m. Wednesday, Barazandeh went to the 2600 block of Dearborn Drive.

ORIGINAL STORY: Durham officer rescues 2 women from car in icy creek

"I happen to see, out of the corner of my eye, two sets of hands waving down a deep embankment," Barazandeh recalled. "It wasn't until I got out of my car that I realized there were two women who had called, and they were in the water."

Barazandeh, an 11-year veteran of the Durham police force, then took off his gear and went into the water to rescue the women, one in her 30s and one in her 60s.

"They were screaming and asking for help," Barazandeh said. "I wasn't thinking at the time. I didn't realize how cold the water was going to be. ... it wasn't until I got out that I realized I was pretty cold."

Barazandeh said the women had to float on their stomachs to safety because the bottom of the creek was too soft and he feared walking on it would have made matters worse.

"Time was not on their side," said Barazandeh.

The officer wasn't the only hero.

A couple of strangers who saw what was happening came over to assist.

"It was a team effort," Barazandeh said. "I know that anyone that I worked with, if they arrived first, they would have done the same thing."

After the rescue, Barazandeh and the women didn't have the opportunity to talk. However, DPD said the women "called communications back" to thank everyone for their help.

Durham Police Chief CJ Davis said she is proud Barazandeh was able to keep his composure and guide the women to safety.

"(My officers) have a lot of compassion for what they do and many times they don't think about self," she said. "I'm a proud mom right about now."
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