Casa Grande firefighter saves teen at lake

Posted at 10:54 PM, May 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-31 03:08:23-04

The quick thinking of an off-duty Casa Grande firefighter is the reason an 18-year-old is alive and back home with his family.

As a first responder, you are always on standby. “You have to be ready for anything,” said Jacob Celaya.

Celaya was off duty and heading to Canyon Lake with his family last Thursday.

It was a trip that almost didn’t happen. “My tire blew out. I changed the tire. And my wife was like, 'let’s just go home,'” said Celaya.

But Celaya pushed forward so his kids could enjoy the water. 

And it's a good thing they did. Just hours after showing up, they heard an 18-year-old screaming for help.

“He was yelling out his friend’s name,” said Celaya.

Celaya ran up to someone in their group. “I asked is he a strong swimmer. She said, 'no he’s not',” said Ceyala.

So Ceyala jumped in to save him “I remember thinking, when I get out to him, I’m going to yell at him for being so far out when he can’t swim,” said Ceyala.

But the 18-year-old was unconscious and getting him back was a struggle. 

“Every time I would lift him out of the water I would sink,” said Ceyala.

But he was finally able to get the teen back to shore.

Celaya gave him CPR, praying the teen would start breathing on his own. 

“When I saw him breath on his own, I knew he had a chance,” said Ceyala.