STERLING TOWNSHIP—Members of Hamlin Fire and Rescue responded to an unusual animal rescue late Tuesday night.
Instead of the stereotypical cat-stuck-in-a-tree scenario, 911 dispatch toned out at 10:15 Tuesday night for a 23-year-old horse named Camey who had fallen through a barn floor off Neville Road.
“It's not something that we train for every month, but it's in the back of our minds living in a rural area,” said Steve Price, Hamlin Fire Chief.
According to the company Facebook page, the 1,100-pound animal stepped through the barn floor with one hoof, falling and injuring its right side.
The horse's right rear leg had “cuts abrasions and gashes that were bleeding,” states the post.
Price was first on scene to assess the situation. He later requested Rescue 67 be deployed with additional manpower to perform the rescue.
Amid cramped quarters, excessive heat and unstable flooring, crews worked on two levels of the barn to rig a harness around the frightened and exhausted animal so they could lift her out of the hole.
The rescue crew concocted a hoist and harness from several ropes, a saddle belly strap, six-inch wide straps, a four-foot square wooden platform and an adjustable a-frame ladder.
Much of the rigging was improvised from equipment on the apparatus, Price said.
With clever rigging and a hefty application of muscle, the rescuers were able to haul the mare out of the hole without needing their backup plan: a wrecker and extra manpower.
Price noted there were about nine rescuers on-scene working to lift Camey out of the hole, a mix of Hamlin first responders and two friends of the fire company, Travis Hollister and Dave Swingle.
From the time everyone arrived on scene, it took between half an hour and 45 minutes to free Camey's leg, said Price.
While crews worked to free Camey, Hamlin EMS attempted to contact local veterinary assistance, but none arrived while rescue crews were on scene.
Hamlin EMS worked to treat her injuries as best they could once she was cleared of the hole.
The rescue crew stayed on scene for another few hours to calm and soothe her, making sure she was okay after spending much of the day exhausted and on her side.
Before Hamlin EMS departed at 1:45 a.m., Camey was up and moving around on her own.
Price noted Camey's injuries appeared superficial, and the vet was expected to stop by on Wednesday to make sure.
Price also planned to follow up later on Wednesday.
Hamlin EMS extended its gratitude to Hollister and Swingle for their assistance in the impromptu equine extraction.
Hamlin Fire and Rescue
Like all fire companies in Wayne County, Hamlin Fire and Rescue is a volunteer-run organization dedicated to keeping residents safe from fire and other emergencies.
The company depends upon volunteer support to fight fires, make rescues, and even to help out with the organization's everyday tasks and special events.
Those interested in helping the company keep their neighbors safe can find out more information at the company's monthly meetings, held on the first Monday of every month from 7-8:30 p.m.
More information is also available on the Hamlin Fire and Rescue Facebook page and their website: www.hamlinfire-rescue.com.