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2 Boys Rescued After Falling Through Ice in Riverside

Greenwich firefighters rescue two boys who fell through the ice of a Willowmere Avenue pond in the Riverside section of Greenwich Jan. 23, 2014. Police and firefighters can be seen on shore at right of photo. Contributed photo.
Greenwich firefighters rescue two boys who fell through the ice of a Willowmere Avenue pond in the Riverside section of Greenwich Jan. 23, 2014. Police and firefighters can be seen on shore at right of photo. Contributed photo.

Update: 7:09 p.m., Jan. 23:
The Greenwich Fire Department has issued this statement regarding the rescue of two boys who fell through the ice of a Willowmere Circle pond shortly after 1 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23.

Full details from witnesses including the man who called 911 to report the boys were in distress, please read beyond the GFD statement.

"At approximately 1:14 pm this afternoon, Greenwich Public Safety Dispatch detailed Greenwich Fire Department units to respond to an incident involving two youths through the ice in the area of 73 Willowmere Circle.

"Greenwich Fire Department’s Engine 5 arrived on scene within approximately 5 minutes of being dispatched. E-5 Lieutenant Charles Teichert reported two persons in the prone position on the ice and began affecting a rescue.  Both parties had fallen completely through the ice. They managed to get themselves out of the water back onto the ice but were too cold and scared to move. Lt. Teichert proceeded approximately 50 feet out onto the ice and rescued the first of the two parties.

"Greenwich Fire Department Tower - 1 arrived on scene shortly after Engine - 5. Tower -1 Firefighter Robert Roth proceeded out approximately 50 feet out onto the ice and rescued the second party.

"Both Lt. Teichert and FF Roth were assisted by their respective crew members in the operation of their tethers and retrieval systems.

"From the time of arrival of Greenwich Fire Engine 5, it took the firefighters from E-5 and Tower -1 only four minutes to rescue both parties and bring them safely on shore. Both parties were turned over to Greenwich Emergency Medical Service for evaluation and transport to the hospital."


Update: 3:45 p.m., Jan. 23

Eighty-nine-year-old Paul Palmer said he had a bad feeling when he saw two boys start to walk onto the icy pond at the end of Willowmere Circle in the Riverside section of Greenwich.

"I've rescued four people and many dogs over the years. I've lived here for 45 years," said Palmer, who's also a former chief for the Sound Beach Volunteer Fire Department. "I yelled out to them and told them to stay off the ice. They told me 'Mind your own business.' I just had a feeling and I kept an eye on them," Palmer said a half-hour after the boys were pulled from the ice by members of the Greenwich Fire Department.

Palmer said he called 911 after seeing the unidentified boys on the ice. Fire rescue crews and Greenwich Police were dispatched to the pond about 1:15 p.m. 

The boys "were partially submerged and stuck in the broken ice. When GFD and GPD arrived, GFD donned their wetsuits and rescued the two male juveniles from the water," said Sgt. Tim Hilderbrand. "GPD and GEMS ( Greenwich Emergency Medical Service) mete them at the water's edge and began treatment."

The pair was brought to Stamford Hospital for treatment.
"It was excellent coopertion between the three services to bring this a successful and safe conclusion," Hilderbrand added.

A firefighter estimated the boys were about 40 feet from shore. A couple residents walking by the scene estimated the pond is about three-feet deep. 

One resident said that the brackish water takes longer to freeze than fresh water. "Perhaps they were drawn to the ice because we had an ice skating party after the last freeze. But it hasn't been cold long enough for it to freeze this time," said the resident.

"It's beautiful skating when it does freeze," Palmer said.

The boys weren't the only ones who needed rescuing Wednesday afternoon. After the the rest of the emergency crews left the scene, the crew of Engine 5 waited for a repair truck from the Greenwich Department of Public Works Fleet Division.

When the crew drove over a six-inch speed bump on the narrow waterfront lane, the truck's oil pan was damaged. A trail of oily puddles soiled the snow-covered road. 

"We caught the speed bump on the way in," said a firefighter. When asked about the damage, he replied, "You're not thinking about that when you hear it's two kids through the ice, in the water."

While a repair crew assessed the damage, Sebastian Dostmann of the Cos Cob Fire Police Patrol spread a kitty litter like substance across the roadway.

Original story: 2:07 p.m., Jan. 23
Two boys were rescued by Greenwich Fire Department crews after falling through the ice of a brackish pond on Willowmere Avenue in Riverside early Wednesday afternoon.

The boys were taken to Stamford Hospital for treatment.

Greenwich Patch will have updates as more details become available.
dd January 23, 2014 at 04:43 PM
Great job GFD, GPD and GEMS!
CosCob42 January 24, 2014 at 11:48 AM
So scary. Those guys are heroes.
Jessica Reid January 24, 2014 at 01:22 PM
Paul Palmer has saved so many lives between his long history as a volunteer with Sound Beach's Fire Dept. and his Eagle Scout skills!! There's a great (and heroic) story from when he saved his friend who was swept away by the rising tide in the Hurricane of 1938. Thanks Paul!!!

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