Water Tower Rescue Caught on Camera

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ALLIANCE, Ohio -- Police in the college town of Alliance say they found four Mount Union students ringing in the new school year nearly four stories off the ground, stranded on a city water tower platform.

The students called for firefighters to help get them down, but the first trucks that arrived did not have ladders tall enough to reach them.

"Both of our ladder trucks are out of service at the present time, so I sent the crew from base three up, which has small ground ladders and they attempted to affect rescue with the ground ladders but they were too short," said Fire Lt. Ted Johnson.

Johnson then sent one of the out of service trucks because it had taller ground ladders.

Video from a police department cruiser shows the four students waiting as the fire officials carefully make their way up the second 35-foot ladder.

They are then brought down one at a time with a firefighter also on the ladder below them in case one of them were to slip and fall.

Johnson says the students used three small electrical conduits on the water tower to scale its side.

He says one of the students confessed to them that he had been afraid of heights, and that they had also confessed that they had done it before.

On Friday representatives from the city and from Mount Union were discussing how to prevent the same thing from happening again.

Captain Doug Neeb of the Alliance Police Department says the rescue, which tied up safety crews for more than an hour-and-a-half, kept those crews from responding to any other emergency calls that might have happened at the same time.

"In this particular instance we had police officers and the fire department tied up and, you know, with the fire department they run their first responder calls. Had they been needed at any emergency medical call they are already tied up for these kids that chose to climb a water tower," said Neeb.

The four students were arrested and were expected to be charged with trespass and underage consumption of beer or alcohol.