Town of Lamoine, Maine
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Rescue Call February 2, 2005

Lamoine Fire Department was called with a report of a dog through the ice at Marlboro Beach. Upon arrival, firefighters found two people intent on rescuing the dog had also gone through the ice and were trapped in near freezing water. Firefighters donned special ice rescue suits, and Asst. Chief Engineer Maury Oliver launched the department's rigid hull inflatable boat onto the ice (left). As the rescue team of Lt. Mike Jordan and Asst. Chief Stu Marckoon pushed the boat onto the ice, they also broke through. Jordan stayed with the boat, while Marckoon proceeded to make his way through the ice and water to the two female victims, later identified as Irene Bergman and Debbie Fitch of Hancock. Both had been in the water approximately 25-minutes when the rescuers were able to reach them and were suffering from increasing hypothermia.

Asst. Chief Marckoon stayed in the water with both women to keep them afloat while Lt. Jordan proceeded to use the boat as an ice cutter and get it close enough to the trio to rescue them. When the boat was approximately 25-feet away, Lt. Jordan threw a rescue rope with a special latch on the end to Marckoon who was able to get it around the first victim. Jordan pulled and freed the woman from the hole in the ice and was able to haul her on board the boat. The same procedure was followed for the other victim.

Finally, Jordan hauled in Marckoon (picture below), who's rescue suit had taken on water. and proceeded slowly toward the beach (picture on right). After going as far as possible due to the ice conditions, Asst. Chief Engineer Oliver met the boat with a ladder from the fire truck, and attached ropes to both ends. On shore firefighters Kermit Theall, David Herrick Jr, Joe Young, Captain Jerry Jordan and Marine Patrol Lt. Alan Talbot pulled the ladder with the first victim on board to safety. Theall had gone home to get a canoe, and the ropes were attached to that and it was used to pull the 2nd victim to shore and to a waiting County Ambulance rig. Marckoon then went ashore on the ladder and warmed up and dried off.

Lt. Jordan then proceeded back with the rescue boat to gather up the dog. He was able to reach the animal, but had to physically haul in the pooch to the boat, and successfully brought him to shore. The dog was placed in the warm fire truck and seemed quite pleased to be on solid ground again.

The two victims were transported to Maine Coast Memorial Hospital for treatment for hypothermia. Hospital and ambulance officials report the treatment was successful. The dog and two others were reunited with their owners thanks to Animal Control Officer Harry Lounder who was called to the scene.

The Lamoine VFD purchased the rescue boat in the mid 1990's following an incident in the same vicinity. That incident occurred in January and involved a pair of duck hunters who also went to retrieve a dog in rough waters. The hunters' canoe tipped and they were dumped into the frigid water. There was no ice to contend with on that rescue, and private boat owners were able to ferry the cold hunters to shore. The fire department raised funds to purchase the boat following that incident. Department personnel trained in cold water rescue, boat handling and many other potential situations. The department also purchased the rescue suits and other associated gear for the boat. Most of that equipment came into play in this rescue. The Maine Emergency Management Agency recently granted the Lamoine VFD money to enhance the boat and the rescue gear under a Department of Homeland Security Grant.