Hopefully most of us didn’t need to call 911 last year but in case we do this year, it’s good to know that Kent Police and Fire stand ready to respond at a moments notice. Here’s a short summary of an incident that occurred just days before Christmas involving 2 teenagers who got lost and were stuck in a marsh area along the Cuyahoga River with water levels rising dangerously. The incident report was written by Fire Lt. Bill Meyers who wanted to acknowledge the good work performed by both Kent Fire and Police that saved these kids. It’s a great example of the kind of teamwork that goes on with city crews all the time.
On December 23, 2007 our department received a call for 2 kids in the Cuyahoga River behind 823 Dominion Dr. in River Bend Estates. These teenagers were out hiking when they became lost and disoriented in a marshy area with rising water.
When we arrived our police department was already on the scene providing us with the necessary information to efficiently use our resources. The med-unit from station 2 was the first fire department unit on the scene FF Don Beckett provided our other responding units with important boat launching information. When our heavy rescue, dive truck and utility vehicle towing our boat arrived – police officers Lt. John Altomare, Sergeant Robert Treehorn, Patrolmen Mike Stirm, Tim Cole and Jim Fuller assisted our firefighters Robert Colecchi, Todd Gavriloff, Tony Bell, Vince Yost by picking up our 16 foot inflatable raft with a 25hp Mercury engine from the street to the backyard down a muddy decline and into the water. FF Jeff Coffee, Don Beckett and FF/Diver Brock Murphy got into the boat and quickly & professionally rescued 2 young teenagers who had gotten themselves into a potentially life threatening situation.
Four Kent firefighters who are also with the dive team responded to the dive team activation. Two of them make it to the scene to assist with operations Captain John Tosko and FF Shawn Baynes, while the other 2 provided support from station 1 firefighters Brad McDougal and Paul Bevere.
I was very proud of the members of our fire department how quickly, safely and effectively we responded, each man knew what to do and as a team courageously responded.
I have always known we have a great police department and this evening was a reflection of their professionalism. When we arrived with the needed equipment to carry out our rescue – no one asked our police officers to help, it was as if they expected to help us and without any request they were standing shoulder to shoulder with us providing us with the muscle and manpower necessary to help get our job done.
Our dispatchers Nichole Jacobs and Elizabeth Sadowski paged our county dive team, made a shift call back so other firefighters would be able to cover any additional calls that came in during our rescue efforts or if we needed additional personnel at the scene. They contacted Chief Williams and Safety Director Bill Lillich. They assisted with the organization of other county agencies and provided a calm and reassuring stream of information with our radio communications.
I would like to commend the actions and teamwork that was demonstrated this evening by the men and women of our safety forces. I was very impressed and it is with great pleasure, pride and honor that I sever our Kent Community with all of the afore mentioned professionals, and the many others in our city government.
Lt. William Myers
Kent Fire Department