NEWBURGH – City of Newburgh firefighters, members of IAFF Local 589, answered more than a dozen calls on Friday including saving a dog that was stranded on the ice in the Hudson River. The firefighters have been pushed to their limits by staffing changes that have taken one of the two fire engines out of service.
On Friday, the on-duty firefighters answered 14 calls for service, including rescuing a dog that became stranded on the ice flow on the Hudson River.
A couple from New Jersey had traveled to the area, accompanied by their pet dog, Lilly. They stopped to eat at the waterfront and let Lilly out to stretch. The canine was almost immediately drawn to the river where several ducks and geese were floating on ice chunks. Lilly jumped into the water, climbed onto an ice chunk, and became stranded.
The fire department was called at approximately 1:15 p.m. to assist. The crew of ladder truck 1 responded to the Washington Street boat launch to rescue the dog. Several attempts were made to rescue the pup from the shore but were unsuccessful. Specially trained firefighters geared up in the cold-water rescue suits, entered the river, and rescued Lilly.
The dog, rescuers, and her owners all left the scene without injuries, other than being cold.
The firefighters on duty Friday handled 13 additional serious calls during their tour, including an accident with an overturned car and a retaining wall collapse.
The effects of having one engine out of service were once again shown to be a public safety risk on Friday, according to one firefighter. “We had two calls at the same time. The crew was dispatched to a fire alarm at one address and a carbon monoxide detector activation at another address and with only one engine in service, we can’t be in two places at one time,” said the veteran firefighter. “We were delayed in responding to the carbon monoxide alarm call due to staffing changes. Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas and people could have died,” he added.
IAFF Local 589 President Nick Bedetti told Mid-Hudson News that his fellow firefighters really stepped up for the city on Friday. “Even with extremely limited staffing, the City of Newburgh Fire Department never stops responding to calls for service.”