CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) — When he first heard about his mom’s car accident on Nov. 12, Andrew Hurda was in Philadelphia, evacuating from Hurricane Nicole. His home is in West Palm Beach. But as the day went on, he realized how serious it was and booked a flight. He was in Clearwater by that night.

“Every second in this, and probably so many other cases,” Hurda said. “Makes such a difference.”

Hurda’s mother, Marsha, was driving around the On Top of the World apartment complex in Clearwater when she suffered a medical emergency and crashed her car into a pond nearby.

“There were so many things going through my head,” Hurda said. “First and foremost, concern for my mom’s life.”

The Clearwater Fire and Rescue was called to the pond moments after the crash. Lt. Benjamin McBride and his team were first to arrive at the scene.

“We could actually see the patient trying to make her way up,” said McBride.

Multiple crew members dove into the pond and broke the back window, then the rear passenger side window, but the car continued to sink with Marsha trapped inside.

Then Lt. Wade Bishop and his team arrived.

“Water is unforgiving,” Bishop said. “If you make a mistake underwater, that’s it. You don’t get a second chance.”

Bishop said when he saw the situation deteriorating, they went into another mode.

“As you can see what the pond looks like,” Bishop said. “There’s zero visibility under there, so it is very tough to operate underwater.”

Bishop and McBride were eventually able to rescue Marsha from the pond and bring her to shore, and EMTs performed CPR. In the end, she was underwater for nearly 12 minutes.

“To pull her, at the last moment, and give her the ability to live the rest of her life,” Andrew Hurda said. “I couldn’t be more grateful.”

When Hurda visited his mother the day after the crash, she was in an induced coma and on a ventilator. But days later, she was able to get up and walk a little.

“I’m overjoyed thinking about the fact that we’re going to have more memories together because of these firefighters,” Hurda said.

The firefighters were glad to help.

“That is very rewarding,” said McBride. “Not too many calls like this end well. Just due to the time itself. When you’re underwater, for ourselves, we can only hold our breath so long.”

Bishop said they were lucky the team was close by and not back at their own station.

“It does make you remember why you got in the business,” Bishop said. “Being a fireman is not an easy job. It’s tough in many ways. But these are the rewards.”

Now, Marsha is on the long road to recovery. But her family is glad she’s still here.

“There’s not a message that I or my family, that we could give that is sufficient enough to express our gratitude,” Hurda said.