Sunday, January 7, 2018 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
A man who ran out into a frozen Des Plaines River, near First and Chicago Avenues, while fleeing police in the early morning hours of Jan. 7 was safely removed from the ice by area firefighters, according to Maywood Fire Chief Craig Bronaugh.
The incident happened just after 1 a.m., Bronaugh said, adding that the Maywood Fire Department was just one of at least three neighboring departments that were called by police officers to help out in the emergency rescue.
An official with the Franklin Park Fire Department, one of the departments that responded to the incident, said on Jan. 7 that the Melrose Park Fire Department was the main responding department. The man was being chased by Melrose Park police.
Officials with Melrose Park’s police and fire departments had not responded to requests for comment as of Sunday night.
Bronaugh said that he didn’t know the condition or identity of the man, who was taken to a nearby hospital by ambulance. The chief said that the man had ditched his car while police were in pursuit before ending up on the ice.
“There were certain precautions that fire personnel had to take because we weren’t sure how secure the surface was,” Bronaugh said. “If someone walks out on that ice and it breaks while they’re out there and they fall under it, that presents other problems. Thankfully, he was removed without any serious problems.”
Bronaugh said that the Jan. 7 incident was just the latest in a string of emergencies that have taken place on the Des Plaines over the last several years.
“There have been other incidents that have involved the river, so we see a need to improve our ability to be able to deal with these incidents,” Bronaugh said.
Last May, for instance, a cleaning crew discovered a body in the Des Plaines River.
He added that his department could benefit from additional equipment, such as boats that can be quickly deployed, and additional training related to search, rescue and recovery missions on the river.
“[River-related emergencies are] definitely a concern of ours and we want to be able to make sure we’re ready to deal with them when they happen,” Bronaugh said. “One solution would be to have guys who are fully trained and prepared for these types of emergencies and to have great tools at our disposal.”
The official with the Franklin Park fire department said that first responders relied on a boat from a nearby Chicago fire house whose personnel also responded to the incident, but that the boat didn’t have to be deployed. VFP
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