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Firefighters rescue 3 from Spy Pond


Memo credits all involved in safety effort

A 45-year-old father, his 43-year-old wife and their 3-year-old son were rescued from Spy Pond about 100 feet from shore after falling through thin ice after dusk on Sunday, Jan. 22.

Arlington police and fire officials responded to a 5:26 p.m. 911 call reporting three persons, all from Arlington, in the water.

Firefighters immediately launched rescue efforts, and all three were rescued and transported to three Boston Hospitals -- Children’s, Beth Israel and Mass General. All are reported to be in stable condition.

Police Chief Frederick Ryan said parents and a child had been out for a walk, but officials could say why the family was on the ice. Selectmen received a memo Jan. 23 describing the events and praising those who helped.

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"We’re thankful that we were able to reach the victims quickly," he said, "and our firefighters and police officers did an extraordinary job rescuing each of them.

"This is one in a series of incidents involving thin ice, and we are encouraging the public to err on the side of caution and stay off lakes and ponds until further notice."

The identities of those rescued were not disclosed.

More detail is available at a Jan. 22 report.

Deputy Chief James L. Bailey Jr., who was incident commander for the rescue, offered the following in an email Monday, Jan. 23:

"The Globe story is accurate with one exception. I believe the family was in the water longer than the reported 5 minutes.

"The call came into 911 at 5:26 pm, police arrived at 5:28 pm, and E1 and C2 (me) arrived at 5:31 pm.

"So the family fell through prior to 5:26 pm. The rescue of the 3 started at 5:32 pm with 1 firefighter in the ice/water."

He wrote that he would have to check the tapes at dispatch for exact times of when victims came out of water (he had radioed dispatch as each came out).

Town Manager Brian Sullivan told selectmen Monday, Jan. 23, that the family was pulled from the water in from three to 10 minutes.

Bailey continued: "Also all our ropes can and did reach the victims. They were hooked to each of the 4 firefighters in water and the ice sled. The Res Q disk (a frisbee with rope) that police carry could not reach the victims."

He also wrote that a civilian on the shoreline was filming the incident, but he got no name, and the person did not approach fire officials for information. 

Memo to Chief Jefferson describe rescue, lauds personnel

A Jan. 22 memo to Fire Chief Robert Jefferson from Bailey, released by Sullivan to selectmen Jan. 23 outlined the events and gave credit to those involved:

"On the evening of January 22, 2012 under dangerous conditions, failing ice and limited visibility personnel of the Arlington Fire Department and Arlington Police Department selflessly and without hesitation pulled a family of three, including a 3 year old child, from the waters of Spy Pond.

"At approximately 5:30 pm members of the Arlington Fire Department arrived at the base of Linwood Street to find 3 people in the icy waters of the pond. Police officers positioned their vehicles on the pond illuminating the area and identifying the location of the victims.

"Firefighter Paul Moniz from E1 entered the water in full dry suit tethered by a rope manned by Patrolman Flavin and Deputy Chief Bailey. FF Moniz reached the family, assured them that they would be removed quickly, then took the 3 year male and swam with him to the ice sled.

"The sled was deployed by the members of Ladder 1 and Engine 1. The ice sled was then pulled to the shoreline by members of E1, E2, and L1. FF Moniz was then joined in the water by FF Jim Foley of E2 and FF Terrance Hogan of R1.

"FF Robert Dustin manned the ice sled. The four members donned in dry suits then moved the female to the sled and she was pulled to safety. FF Dustin then returned to the remaining victim and the 3 firefighters. The male victim was placed on the sled and removed to safety.

"FF Moniz, FF Foley, and FF Hogan then exited the water with the assistance of the crews working from the shoreline. The three victims were transported to Boston hospitals were they were treated. The quick actions and shear determination of Arlington Fire and Police not only rescued these people, but saved their lives. It is my opinion that a very tragic outcome was averted due to the efforts of these men.

"The following is a list of those involved in last night’s incident:

"Engine 1-Lt James Lawson, FF Paul Moniz, and FF Robert Dustin

"Engine 2-Captain Paul McPhail, Lt Robert Largenton, FF Mark Cummings, and FF James Foley

"Ladder 1-Lt Brian Gera, FF Jack Tracy, and FF Richard Marquis

"R1-FF Terrance Hogan and FF Daniel Kerr

"C2-Deputy Chief James Bailey

"APD-Patrolman Greg Flavin

"Please forward the details of this incident to our town management and elected officials. It is my sincere desire that at the appropriate time these men will be recognized individually and collectively for their extraordinary efforts."

Those involved are expectedd to be honored publicly at some point, Sullivan indicated.

No extra operating costs

Asked Jan. 24 about the costs to Fire and Police departments for the rescue, Bailey and Ryan wrote that neither department incurred added operating costs.

"We are thankful that all parties have fully recovered," Bailey wrote.

This story was first reported at 8:15 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 22, and updated the next two days.

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