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Westsside Digest

Santa Monica : Fire Captain Honored

March 19, 1992

The City Council awarded a Medal of Valor to Fire Capt. Dan Bendiksen on Tuesday night in recognition of his dramatic intervention in an attempted suicide.

In the Nov. 1 incident, Bendiksen and police Sgt. Steve Brackett wrestled with a 53-year-old man on a third-story ledge to keep him from jumping.

The commendation, the Fire Department's highest honor, is awarded only when a member of the department places himself in serious danger to save a life. The medal was last awarded in 1972.

Bendiksen's heroics followed five hours of attempting to talk the man from the three-foot-wide ledge on San Vicente Boulevard.

Fearing that the man was about to jump or fall from fatigue, Bendiksen waited until the man was distracted, then grabbed him.

But the man kept slipping out of the firefighter's grasp until Bendiksen jumped over a parapet onto the ledge, where the two wrestled for several moments.

Bendiksen, who was assisted on the ledge by Brackett, called the rescue a team effort.

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