South Haven Firefighter Braves Icy Waters To Save 12-Year-Old Chihuahua

“Firemen never know what they will encounter on each call but proceed with the same level of commitment and service.” – Byron Pulsifer

Firefighters come to the rescue of anything under the sun.

Most of the time, it is people whom they save from fires and other dangers. They are also the heroes who brave wildfires and storms. Other times, they rescue cats stuck in trees, birds trapped in walls, and other animals in peril.

What would the world do without these unsung heroes?

More Challenges During the Pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increase of 10% in emergency responses by South Haven Area Emergency Services (SHAES), which serves the townships of South Haven, Casco, and Geneva.

Incidences of fire alarms going off increased from 701 to 788. Medical emergency calls from 1,730 to 1,804. SHAES had also extended assistance to other fire departments and emergency medical services in more than 100 incidents.

In 2021, just one civilian fire-related death was recorded. There were also a couple of incidents where a responder suffered injury in the line of duty.

“Our call volume showed a significant increase in all areas,” said Brandon Hinz, SHAES executive director. “Even with the continued hurdles from the pandemic, our staff remained committed to providing quality service to our residents and visitors.”

Excellence in service and professional commitment were the reasons why Matthew Dey was honored as Firefighter of the Year.

Model Firefighter Rescues Missing Chihuahua that Fell into an Icy Pond

Just before 2 pm, SHAES received a call to rush to a pond at the back of the Church of Latter-Day Saints on 73 1/2 Street in South Haven Township.

A chihuahua was out on the icy pond, and the caller was worried that it might fall in and drown or die of hypothermia.

Matthew Dey quickly boarded Rescue One and donned a cold water rescue suit on his way to the site. He swam toward the dog and was almost to it when the thin ice broke under the chihuahua and it disappeared underwater. Dey acted fast and grabbed the dog, taking it safely back to the shore and to a veterinary clinic.

The owners were so happy to learn about the rescue of Sasha, their 12-year-old chihuahua. She had been missing for days, and they had been searching for her in vain.

Yes, be it a person or an animal, firefighters like Matthew Dey will perform their duty with the same level of commitment and service. We’re so happy this turned out well for all involved!

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