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First Responders Warn Of Thin Ice Dangers After Several Rescues

BOSTON (CBS) - The cold weather has sent many people to frozen lakes and ponds around New England, but first responders are warning about thin ice dangers.

Over the weekend, first responders saved several people who fell through the ice at Spy Pond in Arlington. In Hampstead, New Hampshire Monday morning, a Salem man suffered a head injury when his ATV broke through the ice on Wash Pond.

Equipped with the proper safety gear – Sunday's rescues on Spy Pond didn't stop witnesses like Nate Binzen from heading out on the ice again Monday for some pond hockey "There were a lot of people out here yesterday and I think some people don't really know what's dangerous and what isn't," Binzen said.

Arlington Police officer Mike Hogan made the first rescue Sunday on Spy Pond. "You could see the person was like in the ice, like treading water, holding onto the edge of the ice," Hogan said.

Officer Hogan used a homemade rope pull to help the man out of the water. Only two hours later, he was called back to the same spot for another rescue.

"It's pretty unusual. I grew up in this town, and I always worry about that pond because it's got to be really cold for a few weeks before you get out there because there's all these springs that come up and it keeps the water moving underneath so you can't really tell if it's safe or not," Hogan said.

Despite the dozens on the ice Monday, the message from officials is clear.

"The town or the department is never going to say that it's safe just because there's a myriad of factors that could cause thin ice in certain spots, so we always kind of preach that the only safe ice is the ice is inside a skating rink," Arlington Firefighter Martin Conroy said.

WBZ Chief Meteorologist Eric Fisher says southern New England is on the edge of the deep cold needed to produce thick ice.

"It's easy to freeze that top layer, it's more difficult to build down and down over time," Eric Fisher said. "If you don't know how deep it is, you want to use a lot of caution."

Ice Safety
(WBZ-TV Graphic)

Everyone should stay off the ice if it is 2" thick or less.

For ice fishing, you generally want to see 4" of ice thickness.

Snowmobiles and ATVs require about 5-6" of ice.

For cars and small trucks 8-12" is recommended.

Medium trucks and even planes can go on the ice when there is 12-15" of ice.

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