The Rockville Centre Fire Department responded to Hempstead Lake State Park for a rescue call in the frigid temperatures on the morning of Jan. 22, and pulled a freezing and furry dog from the water.
The RVCFD responded to the call at about 9:30 a.m. The dog, Teddy, had wandered about 100 yards out before it fell through the ice. It was paddling water, but stuck.
Teddy’s owner, MaryAnn Nesdill, called 911 for help. The RVCFD quickly responded.
Just a week before, the RVCFD was performing ice rescue drills, something it does every winter. In minutes, the RVCFD Truck Company responded and put their skills to use, sliding out onto the ice and pulling the pup from the water.
“The ice was really thin, so we had to crawl out on our stomachs to disperse the weight,” said firefighter Danny Leboff, who rescued the dog from the water. “After that, I hopped in the water behind him and grabbed him and pulled him up with me. I put him in an inflatable raft and we got dragged in by the crew of the Rockville Centre truck company.”
The dog was alive and taken to a nearby animal hospital for examination and went home with his owner shortly after — chilly, but unhurt.
Leboff said that it was the first cold-water rescue he had been involved in since he joined the department four years ago. They train a few times every winter in cold-water rescues but, as Leboff said, “it’s usually people.”
Rockville Centre Mayor Francis Murray, who responded to the scene along with Deputy Mayor Nancy Howard, will be honoring the fire department at the next Village Board meeting in February. Teddy and Nesdill will also be invited.