Ice Rescue in Duluth, Min

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Duluth firefighters rescued two adults and two children from the cribs, offshore from Canal Park, on Tuesday after the group started breaking through the Lake Superior ice while trying to explore the ruins.

The ice provided a walkway for people to explore the cribs — also known as Uncle Harvey’s Mausoleum or the icehouse — for much of the winter, but more than a week of above-freezing temperatures has caused the icy pathway to thin.

The St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office reported that Superior residents Melissa Besvold, 34, and Brian Bridge, 37, along with a 6-year-old girl and a 11-year-old girl, attempted to walk to the cribs when Besvold broke through thin ice. Besvold, Bridge and the two children were able to reach the offshore structure. Rescue crews received a call for help just after 5:30 p.m.

It’s unknown how long they were stranded offshore before Duluth firefighters responded, Assistant Fire Chief Mark Herman said after the incident.

A crowd of passersby stopped to watch the rescue from the Lakewalk as firefighters donned yellow cold-water rescue suits and brought the four people life jackets to wear as they waited on the south side of the cribs for their turn to be ferried back across Lake Superior’s thin ice. All four made it to safety, two at a time, in a raft pulled back to shore with the help of a firefighter guiding it over the ice.

Within a half-hour of the initial call the four people were brought to a waiting Gold Cross Ambulance, with rescuers carrying one of the girls over the large rocks and Besvold making her way there in wet clothing.

No injuries were reported, but the four people were wet, cold and scared, Herman said.

The U.S. Coast Guard arrived and stood on the Lakewalk with its raft on standby in case it was needed. The St. Louis County Rescue Squad also initially responded to the scene.

Herman said anyone wanting to walk out to the icehouse will need to wait until next winter; the lake ice is moving and unsafe to walk on.

The cribs or “mausoleum” was built in the late 1910s as part of a short-lived sand- and gravel-unloading dock. In more recent years the ruins have been a much-photographed landmark along the Lakewalk, a magnet for summer swimmers and winter walkers.

Rope Rescue in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

It’s still unknown whether a woman’s condition has improved after firefighters rescued her from an Etobicoke Creek ravine embankment late Sunday morning.

A dozen firefighters in three trucks responded to the rescue call at 11:18 a.m. March 15 to rescue the woman.

“Firefighters packaged a woman in her 90s in a stretcher with straps like seat belts to keep her stable. She was in life-threatening condition,” Toronto fire Capt. Mike Strapko said.

Firefighters performed a so-called low-angle rescue using a patient lift basket behind an apartment building at 14 Neilson Dr.

“They tied a rope to a tree up the embankment and used it as an anchor for the rope system. Then firefighters carried her in the stretcher up the embankment.”

Toronto paramedics then transported the woman to a trauma centre, Toronto EMS Supt. Kim McKinnon reported.

The woman’s current medical condition is not known.

Firefighters cleared the scene 90 minutes later.

Low- and high-angle rescues are not uncommon for Toronto firefighters, Strapko said.

Firefighters perform high-angle rescues on steep cliffs and “on the side of a highrise building to rescue a window washer stranded on the 30th floor or on the Scarborough Bluffs,” Strapko said.

Low-angle rescues occur alongside the city’s creeks and rivers, including the Humber and the Rouge rivers, he added.

“Most of the high-angle, low-angle rescues we do are on the Scarborough Bluffs,” Strapko said. “We also do them along the Humber River and on golf courses. But I don’t ever remember any on Neilson Drive.”

How the woman came to need rescued is not known, he said.

A walking trail runs along the Etobicoke Creek in that area.

“We don’t know if ice was a factor and she slipped and fell.”

Strapko urged residents, especially children, to stay away from city waterways. Warmer temperatures in recent days thawed snow and increased runoff, as well as the flow of rivers and creeks.

“Along waterways, we always say stay back 10 metres or 30 feet,” he said. “Most of the trails are closer (to the water) than that.”

Rescues in Battle Creek, Mich

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) — Firefighters have rescued several people from an early-morning apartment fire in Battle Creek.

The fire department says crews were called around 3 a.m. Friday and arrived to find the fire at the 36-unit building through the roof. The Battle Creek Enquirer says a firefighter was treated at the scene for a minor injury. No serious injuries were reported.

Fronza Swift, a care worker who was staying with a client, tells the newspaper she was watching TV when she smelled the fire. She says her client uses a wheelchair, so she helped him to safety.

Several apartments in the 3-story building were heavily damaged. WOOD-TV reports a shelter has been set up.

WWMT-TV reports the fire appears to have started in the middle of the building. The cause is under investigation.

Rescue in Norwalk, CT

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NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk firefighters rescued an elderly woman trapped in a burning house on Ely Avenue on Wednesday.Shortly before 11:30 a.m., Norwalk Combined Dispatch received a report of a structure fire at 201 Ely Ave. where the living room was on fire and an elderly bedridden woman on the first floor was still inside, fire officials said.

The Norwalk Fire Department responded and found heavy smoke showing from the front and right side of the two-and-a-half story home. Police were also on the scene trying to enter the building.

Firefighters found the woman in the front first-floor bedroom. She was removed from the home and CPR was administered until EMS arrived. Fire officials said a nurse in the home was able to exit on her own.

A total of 36 firefighters responded to the scene. The fire was contained to the first floor, and there was heavy smoke and heat damage to the whole home. There were no other injuries in the incident, and the cause of the fire is under investigation by the Norwalk fire marshal and state fire marshals.

Rescue in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada


THUNDER BAY — A woman inside a south side residence that caught fire was rescued by firefighters.

Thunder Bay Fire Rescue crews responded to reports of a structural fire at a Victoria Avenue home around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.

“We did find somebody in the building at the time and rescued her from there. The last report I had was that she was not hospitalized,” platoon chief Joe Grzelewski said.

Victoria Avenue was closed between Franklin Street and Norah Street as a large contingent of emergency responders were on scene.

Grzelewski said the cause appears to be determined.

“Right now it looks to be an accidental cause,” he said. “It was a small fire in the kitchen that was quickly put out by our crews.”

Rescue in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada


Firefighters had to rescue several tenants from an early morning apartment fire in Maple Ridge early Saturday including a woman surrounded by flames who was plucked from from the third floor.

“In my 30 years of doing this, this was the closest call we’ve ever had,” said Maple Ridge Fire Chief Dane Spence of the dramatic rescue.

Maple Ridge fire

Flames burn through the roof of a four-building apartment complex in Maple Ridge. Fire Chief Dane Spence said the call initially came in as an explosion. Two units already were on fire when crews arrived. (CBC)

The call initially came in as an explosion around 6 a.m. PT at an apartment complex at 2292 122 Avenue.

By the time firefighters got there, Spence said two units were already on fire and a second alarm was immediately called.

Spence said firefighters could see people trapped on the building’s third floor balconies unable to get out because of the smoke.

However, he said, firefighters managed to get everyone to safety.

One firefighter had to be taken to hospital after twisting his ankle on debris.

Firefighters were still on scene as of 10 a.m. PT mopping out the remains of the blaze.

Residents who were evacuated have been placed on a bus.

New Castle, PA Firefighters Make Rescue


NEW CASTLE (KDKA)- Firefighters were able to bust their way into a home in New Castle and pull a woman to safety.

The fire started shortly after noon on Wednesday at a home on East Winter Avenue.

“We thought we heard someone banging on a plate-glass window,” said neighbor Preston Sipe. “The firemen put up the ladder, tried to get the window open and had to break the glass out of the top window to get her out.”

Sylvia Petro, 42, called 911 herself to report the fire. She said she was trapped on the second floor and the phone disconnected.

New Castle firefighter Shawn Johnson put up a ladder to the second floor, while firefighters Justin Data and Marco Bulisco  entered the first floor and began putting out the fire.

“With heavy smoke inside the house, it was difficult to see,” Data said. “Firefighter Shawn Johnson was at the window and located the woman. Myself and another firefighter had gone up the stairs to help. I was on one end and he was on the other end and we carried her down the steps.”

Sylvia was rushed to Jameson Hospital and later flown to UPMC Mercy Hospital, where she is in critical condition.

“It makes you feel good, feel proud to work with guys we work with, they’re all great,” said Data.

“When you have the ability to affect someone’s life, their property, and even have an opportunity to save a life, it means a lot to me. It’s what we do, it’s why we are here,” firefighter Marco Bulisco said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Three dogs inside the home got out safely, but one of them ran away.  The family is asking anyone who’s seen her to call police.

Firefighters also said at least four cats were inside. They had to give two of the cats oxygen at the scene.

Fortunately, all the animals survived the fire.

Pittsburgh Firefighters Rescue Woman


PITTSBURGH —Firefighters rescued a critically injured woman from a house fire that is now under investigation.

Flames broke out on the 8300 block of Rolfe Street in Pittsburgh’s East Hills neighborhood around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Carla Bey was home alone at the time and had to be rescued by firefighters. She was in critical condition on a ventilator at West Penn Hospital, according to her husband, Gregory Wofford. A firefighter who experienced chest pains was also taken to a hospital.

Wofford said he was working at the time of the fire, but believes it may have started in a bedroom.

Firefighters said they found Bey on the floor in the kitchen and had to pull her from the burning home.

Wofford said although his wife is struggling in the hospital, she is expected to recover and he’s thankful for that. He said he hopes the American Red Cross can help them because he doesn’t think they can return to the house, due to the extent of the damage.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Rescues in Waterloo, Iowa


WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — A house fire in Waterloo has sent two people to the hospital. Firefighters rescued a man and a woman from a burning Waterloo home early Saturday morning. Firefighters were called to the home around 3:30 a.m. Saturday. Upon their arrival, they found flames blocking the front door. Firefighters pulled one person from a side window and another through a back door. Battalion Chief Mike Jenn says three children in the house had already gotten out safely. Authorities have not released the identities or conditions of the two adults rescued. The cause of the fire hasn’t been determined, but police said it appeared suspicious. The city fire marshal is investigating.

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