Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Down By the Old Mill Stream Part 2

Yesterday I decided to go to Riverside Park to take some pictures of "The Old Mill Stream". As I was crossing the bridge about to pull into the parking lot, I noticed several fire trucks in the parking area and a lot of activity in the river near the dam. I knew immediately what was happening.

In a comment in my last post my daughter mentioned a tragedy years ago that happened here. It actually happened 30 years ago April 22. It was a beautiful spring day, the river was a bit high, and two eighth graders decided to take their canoe over the dam. Unfortunately, their canoe capsized. Three firemen in a rowboat tried to rescue them and in the process both boys and two of the firemen died. To read more about it go here.

Luckily, yesterday was not a repeat of that tragedy but a practice in case anything like this should happen again. So loaded with my trusty camera, I took a bunch of pictures. They looked like they were enjoying their task but thank God for men like this who put their lives on the line everyday. And hopefully, because of practices like this, Findlay will never have to endure another tragedy like this again.

Here they are up next to the dam. I got the feeling that the guys on the outside were already trained and were training the guy in the middle. When they were satisfied with what they had done, the two on the outside would tap paddles and then tap the guy in the middle on the head.

The rescue boat did have a line attached to it which was used to pull them back from the suction of the dam. There was also another motorized boat standing guard in case something went wrong.

This is a better look at the boat itself. Notice the gas can in case they run out of gas. The guy in the middle controls the motor and the two on the outside do the paddling.

They were training several guys. Besides the two in the standby boat and the two holding the line attached to the boat, there were others awaiting their turn on the rescue boat. And notice, every last one of them has a life vest on. This was the horrible mistake that caused the tragedy in 1978. The firemen did not have life vests on that day.

Kind of a different vantage point here. I was standing right on the overlook by the dam. Notice the guy with the barefeet. Brrrr. It was in the 50's here yesterday and that water had to be cold!! Oh by the way, where I'm standing? That was under several feet of water last August but more about that in another post.

I went to the other side of the river to get a different view and to get a look at the memorial to the two firemen.

Here is the memorial. It is in a lovely spot overlooking the river. There is a bench there where one can sit and enjoy the view and perhaps remember that day 30 years ago.

As I was heading back to my car, I spotted this. There were two sets of gear just like this sitting near the truck and trailer that had transported the rescue pontoon boat. So, apparently, even when they were out on the river practicing for what they hoped would never happen, the firemen were ready to go on a real call on a moment's notice. As I said, before, thank God for men like this who keep us safe.


The Farmer Files said...

Hmmm gave me goosebumps reading looks so peaceful...who would have ever imagined a tragedy today?

Shama-Lama Mama said...

Yeah, it looks like such a small waterfall, too. It always looks so calm and peaceful.

They say that the way its designed underneath the water creates a pull up to the wall that you can't get away from.

Those boys were in 8th grade in '78? Were they just a year younger than David? Which Jr. High did they go to? Did he know them?

Snowbird said...

Karen, I don't think the boys went to Donnell. I don't remember that he knew them. I don't think so.