Ill. Woman, Dog Rescued From Icy Pond

Bloomington Fire Chief Mike Kimmerling said the crew's training saved her.


Feb. 04--BLOOMINGTON -- A Bloomington woman was rescued late Monday morning after falling through the ice in a pond behind her home while trying to save her dog.

Mike Young heard his neighbor, Wendy Rogers, screaming for help about 11 a.m. and saw the woman submerged in the lake and clinging to the edge of the ice behind her home in the 3100 block of Road in Bloomington. Officials said she was about 30 feet from shore.

"I am so glad I am on sabbatical and happened to be home and could hear her," said Young, who called 911. Emergency crews arrived a few minutes later.

"I tried to get to her and to help, but it was just too dangerous," the Illinois Wesleyan University history professor said.

Rescue officials estimated Rogers was in the water about 10 minutes. The air temperature was about 8 degrees at the time she fell in.

One firefighter wearing a cold weather survival suit and tethered to a rope went out on the ice and entered the water to assist the victim out of the water. The engineer and officer, using the rope, helped pull the victim and firefighter onto the shore, Bloomington Deputy Fire Chief Les Siron said.

"Our guys train for situations like this and as they head to the scene, they get the necessary suits on and are ready to go when they step off of the truck. Every second counts in something like this," said Siron.

Rogers was taken to Advocate BroMenn Medical Center for observation.

"She had let her dog out and then noticed that the dog had fallen through the ice," Siron said. "She went out to rescue the dog and then fell through the ice, too. She was really lucky that he (Young) heard her screams. When we pulled up, she was just barely holding on to the ice. That water is really cold."

The dog, a west highland white terrier, also was rescued. Young and his wife took the animal to a veterinarian to be checked out.

Bloomington Fire Chief Mike Kimmerling said Young's actions and those of the rescue department saved the woman's life.

"If it weren't for the neighbor hearing the screams for help, we would probably be searching for a missing person right now," he said.

Siron said it was the first ice rescue he can remember. Kimmerling said the successful rescue was a result of previous training.

"We train for incidents like this all of the time," he said. "There are so many times when the guys are out here training in these types of temperatures and training for these types of rescues. It makes you feel good when it works like it is supposed to."

Copyright 2014 - The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Ill.