Firefighters rescue man from hotel pond

Rescue swimmers and firefighters from the Lebanon Fire District pulled a man from the pond at the Best Western Premier Boulder Falls Inn on the morning of Dec. 30.

According to witnesses, the man and his wife had eaten breakfast at the hotel on Mullins Drive in Lebanon where they had spent the night and decided to walk out to the hotel’s Japanese garden for a visit before checking out of their room. In the early morning hours, it was still dark, and the man missed a step down from the gazebo, stumbled, and fell head first into the 42-degree water. The man quickly became incapacitated from the cold water and was unable to swim to the edge of the pond. He drifted to the center of the pond which ranges up to 5 feet in depth.

The victim’s wife ran inside to the hotel front desk. 911 was called and a hotel manager ran to the pond to assist the victim. The manager entered the pond and was able to reach the man and help him to a rocky outcrop in the pond but the victim was overcome by hypothermia and could not stand or climb up the rocky shore.

Firefighter/paramedics arrived on scene and immediately called for additional resources to assist with the rescue. An engine company and heavy rescue unit with trained water rescue personnel was dispatched along with a chief officer. LFD rescue swimmers entered the water in protective dry suits, helmets, and personal floatation devices to assess the victim’s condition and determined him to be in a significant state of hypothermia. Rescuers assisted the victim from the bank of the pond to a waiting medic unit.

Hypothermia can cause confusion, loss of coordination, and loss of consciousness when the bodies core temperature falls below 95 degrees Fahrenheit. LFD Division Chief Jason Bolen explains the need for the response of rescue swimmers: “Any time we encounter an emergency in or near a water source, no matter how safe it may seem at the moment, our policies direct us to call for additional resources and safety equipment to protect our firefighters and the victim. Water rescues and assists, especially in cold water, can be extremely dangerous and labor intensive. We will always err on the side of safety to protect our citizens and our rescuers to the highest degree.”

The victim was transported by ambulance to the Lebanon Community Hospital emergency department for evaluation and treatment. Nine personnel and four units responded to the call. There were no firefighter injuries.

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