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Firefighters stage icy river rescue drill

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Ogdensburg firefighter Charles D. Irvine was pulled Thursday from the icy Oswegatchie River by fellow firefighter Michael E. Robinson.

Mr. Robinson, straddling a department ice rescue sled, pulled his fellow firefighter out of the 30-degree water.

The pair was pulled by a rope attached to the sled by firefighters Frederick L. Badlam, Joe D. Sovie, Assistant Chief Kenneth J. Stull and Capt. Gerald H. Mack.

Mr. Irvine was safe. But then, he should have been. His role as a person in distress was part of the fire department’s annual ice rescue. And it was timely because this is the time of the year for ice on the water accidents, sometimes fatal. Ice fishing. Cross country skiing. Snowmobiling. Snowshoe walking. Driving. Winter thaws. Too soft ice atop frigid pond, lake or river is never a safe combination, Mr. Stull said.

Know what to do if you fall through the ice or see someone who does.

Get help immediately.

“The faster you call, the quicker we can respond,” Mr. Stull said.

And never, ever try and pull off a rescue by yourself if you are not trained to do so.

“We want to rescue just one person instead of two,” Mr. Stull said.

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