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AUGUST 9, 2005


Manitee Avenue and Zoar Street,
Lawrence Township

During the early hours of Tuesday, August 9, 2005, Lawrence Road Fire Co. volunteers helped rescue a puppy that had become lost in a storm sewer.

Station 22 firefighters were dispatched to the intersection of Manitee Avenue and Zoar Street at 1:44 a.m. at the request of police because the township's animal control officer was unavailable.
Rescue 22 responded with Assistant Chief Chris Pangaldi in command, Capt. Shaun Dlabik driving, and a crew that included Capt. Michael Byrd, Capt. Michael Ratcliffe, Ff. R.J. Laird, Ff. Brian Laue and Ff. Joseph Dlabik Jr.

Rescue 22 arrived to find township police officers already on the scene with a number of neighborhood residents who were trying, without success, to coax the frightened puppy from the storm sewer.

Firefighters were informed by police that the 6-week-old female pit bull, named Destiny, had apparently jumped down into a storm drain, wandered into the drainage piping, and was now lost in the pipe between drains.

The underground drainage pipe itself was only about 12 inches in diameter, so it was not possible to reach the dog, who could be heard wandering around inside the pipe.

Rescue 22's light tower was raised to illuminate the area, as firefighters searched for another possible access to the drainage pipe.

Ultimately, the only points of access found were the storm drain at Manitee Avenue and Zoar Street and another storm drain several hundred feet away toward the dead end of Manitee Avenue.

First Byrd and then Laird climbed down into the storm drain at Manitee Avenue and Zoar Street and made repeated attempts to call the puppy, hoping she would respond to her name and move out of the pipe on her own. The dog's owner even made an attempt, but all efforts proved unsuccessful.

With no other options available, firefighters decided to use a hoseline to flow a steady stream of water down the pipe in the hope that it would either attract the puppy toward the hose or prompt her to move farther along the pipe and then out into the other storm drain.

Laue was positioned in the other storm drain to catch the puppy if she ended up going in that direction. The opposite end of that drain was temporarily blocked off to prevent the puppy from going any farther down the pipe.

After about 10 or 15 minutes of water being flowed into the drain, firefighters heard the puppy move closer to the storm drain at Manitee Avenue and Zoar Street.

The water flow was shut down and Shaun Dlabik climbed into the storm drain. Both he and the puppy's owner called the animal's name and, finally, the dog exited the pipe. Dlabik scooped her up and passed the puppy to her owner.

The dog appeared uninjured and happy to be out of the hole. Neighborhood residents and firefighters shook hands following the successful completion of the rescue.

After packing up their equipment, Lawrence Road firefighters returned to Station 22 by about 3 a.m.

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