Watertown Fire Department UPDATE: Eastern Boulevard water incident

Date: 5/20/22

Time: 05:41

Incident: Water Rescue

Location: Eastern Blvd. Bridge

Companies Responding: E-2, E-3, T-1, R-1, Chief 3

Narrative: WFD units were dispatched at 0541 to a reported car in the river. Upon
Engine 2’s arrival they found a car had left the roadway on the southeast side of the Eastern Blvd. Bridge and was submerged in the intake canal for the hydro plant. The car was not visible to responding units. Upon arrival of the Rescue Co. towing the Swift Water Rescue Trailer, swift water rescue technicians were deployed in one of the FD’s boats to attempt to locate the vehicle. The NYSP Dive Team and the Jefferson County STAR Team were requested to respond with divers. The hydro plant was contacted to stop flow while rescue efforts were under way.

WPD officers located the driver, who had self-extricated from the vehicle
approximately 250 feet upriver on the shoreline down a 20’ embankment. While
SWRT members were searching the water for the vehicle, other WFD companies
placed a ladder down to the shoreline and brought the victim to safety. Medical
treatment was provided by Guilfoyle Ambulance.

SWRT team members located the vehicle submerged in 30’ of black, cold water in the area the victim was located. A STAR Team diver and NYSP Dive Team arrived and joined our SWRT members. Divers entered the water to complete a search of the vehicle for any possible trapped victims. The search found there were no additional persons trapped.

NYSDEC was called to the scene due to fluids possibly leaking from the vehicle.
NYSDEC and WFD Hazardous Material Technicians placed oil absorbing booms upriver, prior to removing the vehicle, to decrease any chance of environmental damage. This canal is on the opposite side from the water filtration plant so there was no chance of contamination to the drinking water. This canal only services the Hydro Plant.

Once the booms were in place, Roadside Warriors towing assisted by WFD members began removing the vehicle from the water. NYSP Divers placed a sling through the vehicle and Roadside Warriors used their rotator wrecker to bring the vehicle to shore.

Engine 1 while responding to the incident had to be redirected to a fire alarm
activation. WFD units handled the alarm activation as well as 3 other incidents during the duration of the incident.

Units cleared the Eastern Blvd incident at 0954.

WFD was assisted by WPD, NYSP, JCSO, NYSDEC, Guilfoyle Ambulance, Jefferson
County STAR Team, Ampersand Hydro, Brookfield Power and Roadside Warriors
Towing and Recovery. A team effort between all agencies resulted in a successful

BC Chris Hayman
City of Watertown FD