Minneapolis firefighter earns Lifesaving Award after grizzly bear attack

Updated: October 22, 2019 10:27 PM

Four friends were on a five-day fishing trip in Wyoming last year when two grizzly bears attacked one of the men and nearly killed him on a mountain side.

Minneapolis Fire Captain Justin Reid heard the bears attacking his friend, Brad Johnson, and sprinted to help him. Reid found his friend in a pool of blood with barely a fighting chance to survive.


"He was covered in blood and his left arm was ripped apart and he was already in shock," Reid said. "We were able to get back down to an outcropping where I tended to him and we had prayed someone would cross our path."

Minnesota man mauled by bear in Wyoming Mountains

Reid said someone did cross their path— a mountain runner— and Reid said the woman dashed for help. The woman had to run nearly two miles out of the wilderness to find help.

"Our prayer was answered and she was the one who got the helicopter sent our way," Reid said. "It was nearly seven hours later, but we were able to get him out of there and it was a miracle that he survived."

Reid was honored by the Minneapolis Fire Department with a Lifesaving Award Tuesday night. 

Reid told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS it was more than his efforts that saved his best friend.

"We had prayed and we counted it up. It took 14 things that had to happen to save him," Reid said. "It wasn't me who saved him, as men of faith, we know it was God who saved his life."

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Jay Kolls

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