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Firefighters rescue retriever from icy river

Four volunteer firefighters with the department were called to rescue a 5-year-old chocolate lab from the icy St. Mary's River last Thursday. Photo courtesy: Lisa Martin

CHIPPEWA COUNTY, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU) -- The Sugar Island Fire Department put its ice rescue training to the test recently to save the life of a family pet.

Four volunteer firefighters with the department were called to rescue a 5-year-old chocolate lab from the icy St. Mary's River last Thursday.

Fred was out for a walk with a member of his family when he ran after a bird. Fred soon found himself in water over his head and the fire department was called to help.

According to the Assistant Fire Chief Jim Handziak, ice rescue equipment was purchased the winter of 2016-2017 and the department has been involved in ice rescue training ever since.

Rescuing Fred was the first real experience the firefighters have had to test out what they've learned. According to Handziak everyone worked together and remembered their training perfectly.

Fred was in the water for about an hour. Handziak said after he was rescued, he was so exhausted he had to be carried, but eventually was able to walk on his own.

A week after his rescue, Fred's owner, Lisa Martin said he is doing great and back to his normal sweet self. Martin also wants to express thanks for the Sugar Island Fire Department.

"We shared this story because the Sugar Island Fire Department is made up of volunteers from the community. We cannot thank them enough for what they did to save Fred."

One member of the volunteer fire department who helped in the rescue is also a student at Lake Superior State University. Mason Babcock, pictured below, was given a shout-out for his efforts on the LSSU Facebook page.

Great job Mason for helping a local family and for being a great example of what it means to be a Laker!








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