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Firefighters rescue girls from frozen Lake Symington

Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue (CKFR) Lt. Darren Foust carries a 9-year-old girl who became stranded on frozen Lake Symington Tuesday as CKFR Spokeswoman Theresa MacLennan tries to console her. - Photo by Jesse Beals
Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue (CKFR) Lt. Darren Foust carries a 9-year-old girl who became stranded on frozen Lake Symington Tuesday as CKFR Spokeswoman Theresa MacLennan tries to console her.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

By RACHEL BRANT

Staff writer

Two separate rescues on the frozen waters of Lake Symington in less than a week have many wondering.

Haven’t people learned a lesson?

Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue crews were dispatched to Lake Symington in Seabeck at about noon Tuesday, Jan. 29. Two nine-year-old girls ventured onto an island on the lake and were stranded 75 feet from shore. One of the girls fell through the ice and became soaked up to her waist. Rather than walk back across the cracking ice, the girls yelled for help until a nearby homeowner called 911.

Eleven CKFR members responded and borrowed a fiberglass dinghy from a nearby resident, secured the boat with a rope and waded into the icy water to rescue the girls. Firefighters wore safety suits to wade in the water and outfitted the girls with lifejackets.

“We were protecting all the parties involved,” said Theresa MacLennan, CKFR spokeswoman.

Although the two girls were obviously rattled by the incident, they were treated and released at the scene.

During Tuesday’s rescue, a crowd of neighbors looked on and many asked, “Again?”

CKFR crews responded to the same Seabeck lake Thursday, Jan. 24, after three teenage boys ventured across the frozen lake and became stranded on an island 250 feet from shore. Firefighters also borrowed the same fiberglass dinghy from a helpful neighbor, rigged a rope system and shuttled the three teens to the mainland.

“The firefighters train on a lot of different areas to mitigate any type of incident,” MacLennan said. “Firefighters are very innovative in trying to figure out ways to help people.”

All CKFR firefighters are trained to perform water rescues. Those techniques are then applied to ice rescues, according to MacLennan.

“We don’t have specific ice rescue training, but we are trained in water rescue,” she said. “Essentially we’re employing water rescue techniques on ice.”

MacLennan said ice rescues are not a frequent occurrence in the area, but this winter’s weather has been different than in years past.

“It’s not something that occurs often here, but we just happened to have two in the same week,” MacLennan said.

Firefighters urge people to avoid lakes, retention ponds and other bodies of water that appear to be frozen. Although the weather is cold, it may not be cold enough to create thick, stable ice on lakes and ponds.

“The ice may look like it can support you; however, looks can be deceptive and a break-through can be dangerous,” MacLennan said.

Falling through ice into freezing waters can cause serious problems such as hypothermia and possibly death. CKFR urges adults and children alike to stay away from frozen bodies of water.

“We encourage people to avoid going onto ice-covered water bodies,” MacLennan said.

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