Old Lyme firefighters save dog from a frigid fate

Old Lyme - Firefighters here rescued a dog that had fallen into frigid water on an icy inlet near Smith Neck Road on Friday night, according to Old Lyme Fire Department spokesman John Cody.

Firefighters in protective exposure suits responded to the incident at 10:20 p.m. and transported the dog to shore by a rescue sled. The dog had been far off shore when he was rescued, said Cody.

The dog is at a local veterinary hospital and is expected to recover, he said.

An unidentified man, who had been out on the ice with the dog but did not need to be rescued by sled, was taken to a local hospital Friday by the Old Lyme Ambulance Association. He was later released in good condition, Cody said.

Cody said the fire department trains for ice rescue missions at least twice a year, which he said is especially important since Old Lyme has several lakes as well as 250-acre Rogers Lake between Old Lyme and Lyme. About three weeks ago, first-responders rescued an individual who fell on Rogers Lake.

During the training drills, the firefighters spend a day outside practicing for the rescue missions and then analyze their performance. The fire department stores equipment - ice-cutting tools, sleds, boats, exposure suits - at a firehouse on Boughton Road to quickly respond to an accident.

The fire department last trained several weeks ago when the ice was very thick. The department is expected to undergo another training drill within the next couple of weeks to prepare for thinner ice in warmer weather, said Cody.

Emergency medical technicians are prepared to warm the rescue victim inside the ambulance and are trained to carefully handle the individual, because being out in the water and ice raises the potential for cardiac arrest, he said.

k.drelich@theday.com

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