Gloucester Firefighters Rescue Deer that Fell Through Ice at Fernwood Lake

Gloucester Fire Department
Eric Smith, Fire Chief
8 School St.
Gloucester, MA 01930

For Immediate Release

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Contact: John Guilfoil
Phone: 617-993-0003
Email: [email protected]

Gloucester Firefighters Rescue Deer that Fell Through Ice at Fernwood Lake

GLOUCESTER — Chief Eric Smith reports that Gloucester firefighters rescued a deer that fell through the ice at Fernwood Lake this morning.

On Thursday, March 14 at 8:14 a.m. firefighters were called to Fernwood Lake for a report of a deer that had fallen through the ice. Upon arrival, firefighters discovered a deer struggling in water, dozens of feet away from shore.

Multiple crews from the Gloucester Fire Department collaborated on the rescue, including West Gloucester’s Engine 2 Crew of Firefighter Darrel Dench and Lt. Doug MacArther, and the Gloucester Fire Department Headquarters Ladder 1 crew of Acting Lieutenant Randy Silva and Firefighters Bob Grover, Andrew Pierce, and Jak Letien.

No one was injured and the deer was able to return to its natural habitat Thursday.

In light of this incident, the Gloucester Fire Department wishes to remind residents that it is not safe to step or walk on the ice. In the event a person or animal falls through the ice residents should always call the Gloucester Fire Department for help.

If someone does fall through the ice, and you cannot reach them from the shore, throw something like a rope, jumper cables, or tree branch to try and pull that person out. If the situation is too dangerous, however, residents should never put themselves in danger and instead wait for help to arrive or go find help.

“Thankfully, our firefighters were able to utilize extensive training and equipment to rescue this deer, and no one was injured in the process,” Chief Smith said. “The ice is not safe to walk across or step on, especially as temperatures begin to fluctuate as we head into spring. Residents shouldn’t be on the ice, and should never attempt such a rescue themselves.

Ice Safety Tips

The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife offers several ice safety tips, and also warns that there is never a guarantee that ice is safe to walk on and won’t crack or buckle.

If you fall through the ice:

  • Don’t panic.
  • Call for help.
  • Don’t remove winter clothing; air trapped in your clothing may provide warmth and help keep you afloat.
  • Turn the direction you came from–the ice you previously walked on will likely be the safest.
  • Place your hands and arms on an unbroken surface of the ice and kick your legs. Once your torso is on solid ice, roll toward thicker ice to distribute your weight.
  • Once you are out of the water and off the ice, find shelter and warm your body. Change out of wet clothing and find warm, dry clothing. Get to a car or house. If you’re in a remote location, start a campfire.

If someone else falls through the ice:

  • Call 911.
  • Shout to the victim to let them know help is on the way.
  • If you can reach them from the shore safely, extend an object such as a rope, tree branch, or ladder that they can grab hold of.
  • Toss one end of a rope or a similar object that will float to the victim.
  • If you cannot safely help, call 911 or go find help.
  • If a pet falls through the ice, call 911 for help or go find help. It is too dangerous to attempt to save a pet yourself. Always keep a pet leashed while walking on ice or near ice.