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Firefighters save collie that fell through ice in lake

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Fire department is equipped and trained for cold water rescue

By Tom Wilmoth

    The next time Clover Noel receives a letter asking for funds from the Bedford Volunteer Fire Department, she won’t think twice about writing a check to help with the fundraiser.

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    She’s seen the crew at work.
    This past Saturday her dog, Sophie, wandered out onto the lake at Raymond and Clover Noel’s home off Cifax Road. Halfway out, the ice broke and Sophie found herself stuck in the water, her front paws clinging to the ice.
    Raymond was on his tractor, returning from feeding the cows when he saw Sophie; he doesn’t know how long she had been out there before that.   Raymond  first  tried  to   use a small flat-bottom boat and break through the ice to get to her, but that didn’t work. Then he called 911, and his wife, who was out shopping.
    Jason Overstreet, 1st Lieutenant with the BVFD, and three other firefighters responded to the call, which came in just after 1 p.m.
    Crew members had to walk in and they saw Sophie, half in and half out of the water.
    Overstreet and Stacey Wills put on their ice rescue suits and the two other members—Matt Scott and Jeremy Garten—stayed on the bank as part of the rescue team, in case something happened to the two in the water.
    In all, it was a two minute operation. Overstreet and Wills had to swim out, they got Sophie, and they were pulled back in by Scott and Garten.
    “She was very friendly,” Overstreet said of Sophie.
    It’s the second time Overstreet said they’ve had to rescue a dog out of a pond.
    “It’s something we train for,” he said, of the training with the Special Operations Team with Bedford County.”Our rescue truck goes on all of those calls.”
    Overstreet said the key to such a rescue is making sure they don’t get trapped underneath the ice. And the ones making the rescue always stay tied off when they’re on the ice. It’s faster to be pulled back in than for them to bring themselves back to shore.
    “It’s always a good feeling when you’re able to have something like that go successfully,” Overstreet said of the rescue.
    And the Noels were very appreciative to get Sophie back safely.
    Clover said when her husband realized Sophie was out in the middle of the lake, he didn’t know what to do.
    The Goode Rescue Squad also responded to the call and helped keep Clover calm as she watched the rescue; she had rushed home from the store after getting a call from Raymond about what was happening.
    “She’s fine,” Clover said of Sophie.
    After the collie was brought to shore, the Noels dried her off and called their veterinarian.
    “She drug me back to the house,” Clover said of Sophie, who had been in the water for at least an hour before being rescued. “It’s a happy ending to that story.”
    And they are so appreciative of the fire department’s response.
    “This is what they do,” Clover said of her appreciation for the fire department. “It was a very traumatic thing for us. She’s the only dog we have. She’s pretty special.”