Port Colborne firefighters rescue dog from section of old Welland Canal
Welland Tribune

Port Colborne Fire and Emergency Services firefighters rescued a dog from the cold waters of the old Welland Canal near the Clarence Street Bridge Saturday morning.

Fire Chief Tom Cartwright said a call for a dog in distress came in just before 9:30 a.m. in the area of Clarence and West streets along the promenade.

“We responded to the location and ended up tiering the volunteers as well because it became a water rescue.”

Cartwright was concerned someone in the crowd gathered along the promenade would jump in the canal to try to rescue the dog.

“That would have become a bigger issue for us.”

As firefighters set up, the 222.4-metre-long cargo vessel Oakglen made its way under the Clarence Street Bridge, Bridge 21.

Cartwright said current created from the Canada Steamship Lines ship, headed up the working canal toward Lake Erie, wasn’t a factor in the rescue.

“It’s in a quiet area of the canal protected by the old canal walls.

“It’s difficult because of the height. You have to use an extension ladder and tie it off properly. There are all kinds of safety things that come into play when you are dealing with firefighters. We have to protect our people.”

Before the ladder went over the at least five-metre high wall, firefighters kept the dog in place with a life ring manoeuvred around one of its back legs.

The dog, whose owner was calling it from above, slipped from the life ring and floated under Clarence Street just before firefighter Jesse Chamberlain made it into the water.

With a line slipped under the dog’s front legs and firefighters pulling from above, Chamberlain brought the animal back up the ladder.

Once back on land the shivering dog was towelled off by its owner who spoke briefly with Niagara Regional Police before leaving the scene.

The chief said it’s unknown how the dog ended up in the water.

During the rescue, the Port Colborne pilot boat J.W. Cooper offered the fire service its assistance, but it wasn’t required.

<back to Headlines