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home : free press advocate : free press advocate March 22, 2017

2/5/2013 9:32:00 PM
Firemen rescue the family dog from icy end
FIREFIGHTER TONY VANTILBURG rescued a dog who had fallen through the ice on Forked Creek Sunday.
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FIREFIGHTER TONY VANTILBURG rescued a dog who had fallen through the ice on Forked Creek Sunday.
Staff report

Just one week after they had participated in surface ice rescue training, Wilmington firefighters put what they learned to use to rescue a shivering yellow lab from the icy waters of Forked Creek late Sunday morning.

Geri Morgan's daughter saw two yellow dogs romping in an open area behind the family's home on Danielson Road, in Wesley Township. A few minutes later, when the Morgans were headed to church, they saw that one dog was in the water and the other was pacing on the shore.

Morgan called Wilmington Fire Protection District's Deputy Chief Todd Friddle directly to report that the dog was stranded on the ice in the creek near the intersection of Donahue and Danielson Road. Friddle and firefighters Pat Schmucker, Kyle Smicker, Tony Vantilburg and Andrew Storbeck responded for an ice rescue.

When they arrived at the location Morgan provided, they saw one dog excitedly running toward them on the creek bank.

It was a Lassie moment. "That dog was looking at me and running back and forth trying to get my attention," DC Friddle said. With the dogpointing the way, the rescuers quickly located the dog in distress.

They could hear him whimpering and could see him shivering from the creek bank. All the while his partner waited excitedly and had to be held back from going back in the water herself.

Vantilburg donned protective gear and waded into the frigid water. The dog was brought to shore, and both dogs were placed in the ladder truck to warm up.

The firefighters located the owners, Eric and Dana Bryant, of Hillview Drive off Manteno Road, by the tags on the dogs' collars. They live more than one mile from where the dog fell through the ice.

DC Friddle said Eric had been out looking for the dogs when the firefighters returned the pets to their grateful family.

Morgan is happy that the firefighters responded so quickly and that they were able to save the dog.

"They did a really good job," she said.

The Wilmington Fire Protection District would like to take the opportunity to caution residents about the dangers of surface ice on creeks, ponds, lakes and rivers. For more information on ice safety, visit the Wilmington Fire Protection District's Facebook page.

Editor's note: The Bryant family did not respond to The Free Press Advocate's request for an interview.

Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Article comment by: DB

The Bryant family would like to thank Geri Morgan for making the phone call that was intricate to saving Bo. It was your kind and thoughtful actions that allowed for the Wilmington Fire Department to respond. We have stated our gratitude to the firemen who rescued our dog, but we simply can not express our appreciation enough. Thank you Wilmington Fire Department!

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