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Dog Rescued From Ice In West Milford

WEST MILFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - Cameras rolled Friday as firefighters jumped into a frozen lake in West Milford, New Jersey, and pulled a drowning puppy to safety.

CBS2's Scott Rapoport spoke with the patient rescuers who saved the day.

It was a harrowing scene as the West Milford Fire Department rushed to the rescue of a dog that fell through ice on Lindy's Lake Friday morning. The 6-month-old German shepherd puppy had ended up in dangerous frigid waters.

Rescuers from the volunteer fire department used a sled, and crawled out on to the lake on their knees, to try and save the animal.

West Milford firefighters recorded it all.

"The dog was drowning in the ice," said West Milford Fire Chief Chris Page.

"He went under the ice actually a couple of times," said West Milford firefighter John Franzino.

Police said the dog got out of his owner's yard next door and into a world of trouble and danger. And saving him was not easy.

Deputy Chief Darren Williams, dressed in a cold-water survival suit, actually went into the freezing waters as the ice below him cracked while trying to bring the puppy out.

But the dog was frightened and resisted -- actually biting the rescuers and then swimming away.

"He wasn't happy to see us, unfortunately," Williams said. "He was pretty frightened and pretty scared, and decided to bite us a lot."

The challenge afterward was not only getting the dog out, but getting him out before hypothermia set in.

Finally, after six minutes, the dog came with the rescuers.

The puppy is brought to safety, and firefighters said the dog was cold, but OK. The rescuers were all safe as well.

"We were quick. We got there in time. And we save the pup, so he's doing good," Williams said.

Dog owner Yolanda Ortiz offered heartfelt thanks.

"I was so scared," she said.


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