Basalt firefighters rescue men in frozen lake
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO, Colorado
BASALT ” The Basalt Fire Department rescued two men Tuesday afternoon who fell through the ice on a pond while trying to rescue a dog, said local authorities.
The Pitkin County Sheriff’s office initially received a call reporting two dogs that had fallen through the ice on a pond while being walked, according Pitkin County Sheriff’s Deputy Joe Bauer.
Since the Sherman Lane pond is between Wingo Junction and the Holland Hills subdivision, Pitkin County relayed the call to the Basalt Fire Department.
Upon arriving, responders found one dog still in the freezing water, as well as a man who had overturned a canoe and fallen into the water in an attempt to rescue the dog, according to Deputy Fire Chief Jerry Peetz.
Responders also found a second man who had walked out on the ice in an attempt to rescue the first man, added Peetz. The ice promptly broke and the second man fell into the water as well.
“It’s that chain reaction,” said Peetz.
While a page was sent to the Basalt Swiftwater Rescue Team, the two initial responders from the fire department reportedly threw a rope to both men, pulling them to shore by attaching the rope to what Peetz called a “four-wheeler vehicle.”
The second man was able to walk out of the water, according to Peetz, but the first man had been in the freezing water so long that he was unable to move. Basalt fireman waded in a short distance and pulled him to shore, he added.
The dog reportedly swam out of the pond by itself, following a break in the ice created by the men as they were being pulled out. The dogs and one of the men did not require medical treatment; the other man was transported to a local hospital, said Peetz.
The 17 firefighters who responded were assisted by the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, Basalt Police Department and Pitkin County Animal Control.
Basalt fire officials emphasized that pet owners should not attempt to rescue pets that have broken through ice-covered ponds or fallen into a river.
“You will most likely become part of the problem with potentially tragic results,” stated a press release. “Pets are likely to stay afloat until help arrives or self rescue. Call 911 for assistance.”
ReRe Baker, Pitkin County Animal Safety Officer, said incidents in which dogs fall through frozen ponds are not uncommon. Every year, local emergency rescue personnel respond to one or two such emergencies, she said. She also noted that she often receives calls in the springtime about lost pets who have been discovered in melting bodies of water.
To avoid the risk of injuries to dogs, Baker recommends dog owners keep their pets on a leash whenever they are near bodies of water in the wintertime. She also suggested pet owners with ponds on their property consider partially draining the ponds in the winter, or fencing them.
She also cautioned pet owners not to attempt pet rescues themselves.
“If your dog breaks through the ice, call 9-1-1,” she said. “Don’t go out on the ice, no matter what. We can get the rescue teams there.”
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