LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – Several West Metro Fire Department dive team members have been called heroes by locals, after they took time out of their Sunday to rescue a deer.
The deer fell through the ice at Main Reservoir in Lakewood, during the state’s heaviest single-day snowstorm in more than one year.
Dominik Von Pichl, who lives nearby, was walking around the lake with his wife, and their dog, when the rescue took place.
“Someone shouted ‘there’s a deer stuck in the frozen water,’” Von Pichl said.
That’s when he used his cellphone to record the rescue, as a dive team from West Metro Fire Station 8 responded.
“(The deer) was just so exhausted. It was kind of heartbreaking to look at it. You could tell it was so weak,” Von Pichl said.
Joseph Spencer, a firefighter, told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas he had to break a path through the ice, before he could reach the deer.
“The ice was super-soft. It didn’t support any of my weight,” Spencer said.
Spencer used a dog catching pole to hook the deer’s antlers.
“(The deer) was not at all aggressive. He was very much wanting to get out,” Spencer said.
Though he was seemingly out of energy at first, Spencer said the deer had a new drive once he saw the path Spencer created.
“The poor deer’s legs were so weak, though,” Von Pichl said. “He could hardly stand up.”
Von Pichl applauded the team for showing up to help wildlife.
“If the animal didn’t get the help, he definitely would have passed (away) in the water there,” he said.
The deer was covered with blankets provided by residents, once it was brought to shore. Animal Control then placed the deer in their vehicle for a time to warm it up.
West Metro said they used the rescue as a chance to execute an ice rescue, which they had recently been practicing.
Firefighters said the rescue would have been set aside, in the case of an emergency involving a human.
Spencer said the dive team also wanted to pull the deer from the iced-over lake, before residents, without training, attempted to do it themselves.
Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.