Firefighters rescue dog that fell through ice |

Firefighters rescue dog that fell through ice

A black lab fell through the ice in a Tahoe Keys canal off Lassen Drive Friday afternoon. Its owners were not present at the time, but a neighbor spotted the dog and contacted South Lake Tahoe Fire and Rescue.

“Once (dogs) break through the ice they can’t get out,” said firefighter Dave Peterson.

The rescue team used a Holmatro board – a buoyant sled with handles designed specifically for ice rescues – in order to reach the trapped animal. The Holmatro board is used by one or two rescuers in dry suits. They slide the board out to the victim by pushing it, or pulling it out using hand picks. Should the ice give way completely, the Holmatro board serves as a flotation device. While out on the ice, the Holmatro board is tethered to shore where fellow rescuers wait to pull the sled back in once the victim is retrieved from the water. Capt. Brad Piazzo says the Holmatro board is an valuable asset in ice rescues.

“We went ahead and bought that because it is one of the easiest and safest ways to get out on the ice,” Piazzo said. “It is a simple tool that has a lot of versatility to it.”

Firefighter Jeff Valney pulled the dog from the frigid water. While falling through the ice on a frozen body of water can be extremely dangerous, it didn’t seem to bother the canine victim.

“We pulled (the dog) out, and it was fine,” Valney said. “It was happy. I’d say it was out there for eight to ten minutes.

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