Saranac Lake Fire Department

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SLVFD investigates a report of a possible person through the ice
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By SLVFD News Room
January 21, 2020

The Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department cautions everyone to please be careful on the frozen ponds, lakes and rivers.

At approximately 7:16 am Tuesday January 22, 2020 a Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department officer received a report from a citizen that they were very concerned that someone had possibly fallen through the ice on Lake Flower sometime during the night. The concerned citizen reported seeing foot prints in the snow going out and ending at what appeared to be a hole in the ice that had refrozen over in front of the Lake Flower boat launch parking lot.

The fire department notified the Saranac Lake Police Department to assist with the investigation. An officer from the Saranac Lake Police Department and two officers certified in surface ice rescue from the Saranac Lake Volunteer fire department responded to the boat launch.

Upon their arrival there was in fact a single set of foot prints going out approximately 50 to 75 yards onto the ice shelf and ending at what appeared to be a hole in the ice that had refrozen over. There was also a single set of foot prints in the snow returning from that same area.

From shore it definitely appeared possible that someone had ventured out onto the ice and fallen through. It also appeared that they may have been able to self-rescue.

Firefighters returned a little while later to the area in question with a drone privately owned by a department member. They were able to utilize the drone to take a much closer look at the area. Although it is impossible to say 100 % for sure it appears that the individual’s foot started to break through the ice and the individual wisely decided to return to shore the same path they went out.

As of this writing the individual who was on the ice has not been identified or located.

Below you can view the actual video taken with the drone.

Winter Carnival is coming and it is an exciting time of year for Saranac Lake. It is easy to look at those big beautiful blocks of ice from Pontiac Bay used to build the ice palace and have the mistaken belief that the ice on Lake Flower or any body of water for that matter is the same thickness.

Many locals and visitors are unaware that Lake Flower is actually a river with a steady flow of water which creates very poor unpredictable dangerous ice conditions. The Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department strongly cautions everyone if your recreational activities take you out onto the ice to please be extremely careful on all frozen ponds, lakes and rivers.

If you do happen to fall through the ice and are lucky enough to self-rescue, please help us keep our first responders safe by notifying your local fire department the when, where and circumstances you fell through so that they are not having to spend time, resources and put lives on the line investigating a hole in the ice with foot prints, four wheeler, cross country ski, snowshoe or snowmobile tracks leading to it. It is an awful feeling when first responders are looking at foot prints on the ice that lead up to a hole or refrozen hole and not know if someone is under the ice in the water. Thank you.


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Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department
100 Broadway
PO Box 509
Saranac Lake NY 12983

Emergency: 911
Non-Emergency: 518-891-2333
Station Fax: 518-891-6991
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