Ice rescue of face-down woman highlights Butler County first responders’ work during winter storms

The Butler County Sheriff's Office held a water rescue training on an ice covered pond Tuesday,  February 16, 2021 on Tolbert Road in Wayne Township. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
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The Butler County Sheriff's Office held a water rescue training on an ice covered pond Tuesday, February 16, 2021 on Tolbert Road in Wayne Township. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

A water rescue in the midst of Monday’s winter storm that poured snow throughout southwest Ohio highlighted the work first responders do in severe weather situations in Butler County.

Members of the Butler County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Response Service team were assisting stranded motorists and older residents Monday when a member heard the call about 9 p.m. of a woman face down in a body of water on Sipps Lane in St. Clair Twp., according to Capt. Rick Bucheit.

Sgt. Mike Matala, a member of the ERS, got to the scene first and had ice gear with him to initiate a rescue. He said the woman was near the shore when he got to her.

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“He was able to get to her, get her rescued, and the other deputies and ERS members and life squad carried her about 300 yards to the squad,” Bucheit said.

The woman’s body temperature had dropped to a dangerous level, and CPR was performed. She was transported to Fort Hamilton Hospital for treatment. Detectives are investigating the incident.

“We had three or four crews out. The sheriff wanted the ERS out and about for assistance during the weather. This a perfect scenario on having police officers trained and certified in water rescue is reaping dividends,” Bucheit said.

Sheriff Richard Jones is vocal about training deputies for rescues because time is of the time is of the essence in those situations. On Tuesday afternoon, ERS members were in an icy pond on Tolbert Road in Wayne Twp. training for future rescues.

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First responders were busy throughout the county. Just as residents were hunkering down for a night of snowfall Monday, Fairfield Twp. firefighters were called to a fire in the 2000 block of Parrish Avenue on the Hamilton border. Flames and heavy smoke were visible coming from the garage when firefighters arrived just before 5 p.m.

During Monday's snow storm Fairfield Twp. firefighters were called to a garage fire on Parrish Avenue SUBMITTED
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During Monday's snow storm Fairfield Twp. firefighters were called to a garage fire on Parrish Avenue SUBMITTED

Fire Chief Tim Thomas said the large garage was made of block with windows boarded up so it was “like working inside an oven with snow and ice outside.”

“On the top of the hill the water supply is not real good so we ended up bringing in tankers from Ross, St. Clair, Madison and Hanover townships to haul in water,” he said.

Liberty Twp., Hamilton and Fairfield departments also helped, he said. Due to the narrow streets, the area was blocked off for several hours to fight the fire, then road crews were brought in to take care of he ice and snow accumulation.

There were no injuries. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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