Firefighter Who Fell 95 Feet Off Ladder Was ‘Dead’ Until God Intervened

On June 5th, 2017, firefighter Rick Ralls was making his morning rounds at Station 5 in Anchorage, Alaska, when he heard loud banging and then a thud on the ground.

firefighter falls off ladder Ben Schultz

Ben Schultz had fallen 95 feet from an aerial ladder. “I saw Ben on the ground I thought he was dead,” said Ralls.

Shane Wescott was the first paramedic to attend to Ben, who remained unresponsive. “I would compare his condition to injuries incompatible with life at that time. Uh, that’s the best way I know how to put it,” Wescott remarked.

Ben was immediately medevacked to Providence Hospital, where his parents, Joan and Jeff Schultz, awaited news on his status. They were shocked when they learned Ben had suffered a Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI), the tearing of his brain’s nerve fibers.

DAI is the most severe type of brain injury, with only a 10% chance of survival.

Ben’s primary care physician, Dr. Kathy Hurlburt, who had known him for over 15 years, joined the family and spoke with the medical team. Hurlburt said, “From what they could tell on his exam, it was highly unlikely that he would survive very long.”

Jeff Schultz had a difficult time taking the news. He confessed, “I actually, I broke down and screamed because I couldn’t believe that this was happening to Ben — I was preparing myself for him not living.”

Joan Schultz, his mother, had a prayerful approach from the beginning. “I’m thinking, Lord, what is going on? What do you want us to do? And He said, ‘Pray with hope.’”

With Ben still in surgery, his parents called their church family and friends to start a prayer chain.

Jeff shared, “There were times where I was angry at God; I got tired of prayer because it was just like, what are we doing this for? But quite honestly, what really bolstered my hopes, was other people saying, ‘we’re praying for you, we’re here for you.’ That was a game changer, that brought life to me.”

After several hours, Ben came out of surgery stable but in a vegetative state. A month later, he was transported to Craig Hospital in Denver, Colorado, a facility that specializes in traumatic brain injuries.

For another three months, his family and friends stayed by his side, praying and hoping for a miracle. Ben lay in a coma, showing no signs of recovery. Then, one day about three months after his accident, Ben unexpectedly awoke from his coma on his own, to his parents’ surprise.

Although now awake, Ben’s future functionality was unknown. He would need several surgeries and intensive rehab, facing the reality of life in a wheelchair.

When he finally returned to Alaska and Station 5 after several months of intensive rehab, Ben miraculously walked in, unassisted. His doctor marveled, “You just can’t begin to comprehend what Ben has gone through when you see him today. A fully functional, normal, healthy, vibrant, bright young man.”

Ben, along with his family, continues to defy odds and recover more every day. Now married to Carly, he works in emergency management for the city of Anchorage.

Jeff and Joan Schultz believe the power of God, working through a praying community, is the reason their son is the walking miracle he is today.

“Keep hoping and keep praying. That’s our motto now. We prayed, others prayed, and we saw what God did,” says Joan.

Reflecting on his long journey of recovery, Ben said, “I have gained a lot more insight into the strength and magnanimous power of our Heavenly Father. Even when all hope was lost and how lifeless I was at that time, God picked me up. Nothing is out of reach of His arm.”

Ben Schultz’s story is a strong reminder of God’s power to perform miracles in hopeless situations. Like Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead, Ben’s recovery is a true miracle.

In John 11, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. Martha, Lazarus’ sister, was heartbroken and said to Jesus, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Jesus replied, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die” (John 11:25). Then Jesus called Lazarus out of the tomb, showing that even death is not beyond God’s power.

Ben’s story today is like this miracle. When hope seemed lost and the doctors gave a grim prognosis, God stepped in. Ben’s recovery amazed everyone. His healing, like Lazarus walking out of the tomb, shows the power of prayer.

Ben’s parents, Joan and Jeff Schultz, turned to God when things were darkest. They leaned on their faith and the support of their church community.

Jeff shared how he struggled with anger and tiredness in prayer but found hope in the support of others.

We can find strength in Ben’s story. It reminds us that even when things look bad, God is in control. He hears our prayers and can do things beyond our understanding.

WATCH: Firefighter Nearly Dies in 95-Foot Fall, Miraculously Comes Back to Life

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