When Rescue Company 1 received the report that there was a jumper at the Ritz-Carlton hotel, 41-year-old firefighter Ed Loder got his gear and jumped into the fire engine’s driver seat. He navigated through the narrow streets stopping in front of the hotel.
When he exited the rig, the hazmat truck gave him a set of binoculars. From the ground, he found a woman sitting on the window sill of a 16th-floor hotel room. The officers inside were trying to get her to come back inside. But, she just sat there, feet dangling, refusing help from the Boston Police Department’s negotiation team. Finally, Loder went up to the roof with the other firefighters.
He told Coffee or Die Magazine, “We could look over the edge of the roof and see her, but she couldn’t see us because she wasn’t looking up. She was looking in the room and talking to the cops.”
Not only was she sitting on the edge, but she also had a razor in her hand, making things more hazardous for the first responders. Loder pulled ropes through the carabiner on his bumble suit while the other firefighters found an anchor point.
He said to Coffee or Die, “They got her attention, and the minute she looked inside of the room, I went off the roof. When I went off the parapet, I naturally swung and kicked her in the side, and she went into the room.”
The Boston Globe called the rescue “Mission Impossible.” The Board of Meritt gave Loder the Walter Scott Medal for Valor.
Loder was 21 years old in 1970 when he was assigned to Ladder Company 2. He was right in the middle of the “War Years,” where a fire was every 13.6 hours. His company had anywhere from five to ten fires each tour, plenty of action just how he liked it.
Loder fought the Orient Heights oil farm fire and a Bethlehem Steel ship fire. In addition, he responded to the Delta Airline Flight 723 crash, where 89 passengers and crew died.
At Rescue Company 1, his reputation skyrocketed, and he became a bit of a legend. In an intense rescue, he saved a man threatening to jump from a hospital building.
Loder grabbed him by his shirt from the aerial ladder, saving his life. Now Loder, 72, teaches classes to the newer generation of firefighters.