Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Cumberland Lincoln 06-04-2020

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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16 CUMBERLAND JUNE 4-10, 2020 | VALLEY BREEZE | CUMBERLAND LINCOLN EDITION CUMBERLAND – All the real-life training on the Blackstone River paid off for members of the Cumberland Water Rescue and Recovery Team last week, said Fire Chief Nick Anderson, who is hailing first responders for their actions in saving two teenagers from the water near Pratt Dam last Wednesday, May 27. "It was really great to see a plan just work flawlessly," he said. "I thought all members, especially fire- fighters in the water, did a great job." Anderson is also warning residents to avoid a similar situation while say- ing that he expects more such inci- dents as the river gets more use. This point in the river, where tubes take the river under the dam at the bike path, is a particularly dangerous one, said Anderson, which is why buoys are placed just up the river. The volunteers who typically clean out the tubes hadn't done so as of last week's incident, he said, and there was also some debris at the buoys. Anderson said it was a week before last week's incident when another woman was rescued while holding onto the buoy system after her kayak overturned. The river, which is now cleaner than it's been in years, is get- ting more use than it has in a long time during the COVID-19 pandem- ic, he said, with more kayaks and canoes seen in it. "I think it's going to happen more and more," he said of the needed water rescues. Responders get about a half-dozen calls each year for incidents here at a "very deceiving point in the river," he said. The situation last week unfolded as the teenagers exploring the water's edge got too close to the rushing water, said Anderson. He said it could have been a lot worse if they'd been trapped more toward the Lincoln side of the river, where there are more full-sized trees, than on the Cumberland side where they were. Past drowning incidents here show just how dangerous this area can be, he said. The Cumberland Water Rescue and Recovery Team has pre-planned the whole Blackstone River from Woonsocket to Central Falls, training both on water rescues and scuba div- ing. Last week's rescue was based on the pre-plan for this section, he said. The two teens, who were entangled in debris, were rescued in under an hour using an inflatable raft built just for such an incident to pull people in through the front of it. Lincoln crews worked downstream in case something went wrong, and the on- duty personnel and off-duty firefight- ers who make up the team worked swiftly and carefully to get it right, he said. Anderson is urging all citizens to use life jackets when using kayaks and canoes on the river. They should also gauge the weather ahead of time and be aware of the swift undercur- rent even when the water appears as if it's moving slowly. "It can be very powerful," he said. After picture-perfect rescue, chief warns of dangers at Pratt Dam By ETHAN SHOREY Valley Breeze Editor Those involved with last week's water rescue on the Blackstone River pose for a celebratory photo. 3755 Mendon Rd. Cumberland, RI 401-658-1515 Open for Patio & Indoor Dining Dining By Reservation Only. Take Out Available. Call 401-658-1515 Bar Dining Not Available Good food. Good friends. Good food. Good friends. Local Eats

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