For immediate release:
On January 31, 2016 at 3:33PM Warren Township Communications received a call reporting a dog stuck in a storm drain in Somerset County’s East County Park off Reinman Road. Warren Township Fire Chief Mark Russo responded to the scene to perform an initial assessment and discovered a full-sized golden labrador retriever (“Bailey”) that fell through a storm drain approximately 8 feet under ground. The storm drain was situated roughly 1000ft from the main parking lot across a snow-covered field. He quickly determined the Fire Department would have to commence a rescue operation and requested the Rescue Truck and manpower from Mount Bethel Fire Company and the all-terrain Brush unit and manpower from Mt. Horeb Fire Company as well as personnel from Community Fire Company; all located in Warren Township.
Units responded and established incident command and began assembling equipment while fire department personnel evaluated the scene. Due to the immense amount of snow it was difficult to fully understand the condition the basin and how its associated cast iron parts were lingering above the animal. Rescue teams deployed low-angle rope systems with appropriate safety systems to secure the storm drain lid and grate and made initial attempts at moving the lid away from the opening which initially proved unsuccessful. At this point the operations lead deployed additional rope systems and additional anchor points as well as the departments all-terrain vehicle for its winching capability.
Once two rope systems and the winch was setup, the operators began a coordinated removal which successfully removed the several hundred pound lid exposing the opening entirely. At this point it became clear that the grate portion of the storm drain was secure enough to operate around via ground ladder. Operators descended into the opening to rescue to dog after being underground for approximately 90 minutes. Needless to say, “Bailey” was quite ecstatic for freedom and the owner took the animal home for a nice bath.
Units remained on scene for breakdown and cleanup and turned the hazard over to the Somerset County Parks officer.
Additional questions can be fielded via the Office of the Fire Chief at 908-753-8000 x269.