Marshalls Creek Fire saves boys and dog stranded on Eastburg cliff
A black dog ran off the edge of a cliff and collapsed out of sight. Two teenagers ran after him, descending further and further down the steep slope until they found him, trapped but unharmed.
Maybe the boys were happy for a moment. But safety was now a hundred feet above them, and a river was surging below. They were trapped then, too.
The call arrived at the Marshalls Creek Fire Company around 8 p.m. Saturday, and within 15 minutes, a rescue team gathered atop the cliff. They couldn’t see the boys or their dog, Titan, but they could hear them screaming somewhere far below. They got to work quickly.
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“Safety is number 1,” said fire chief Joseph Luisi, observing the scene in front of him. He faced a thick canopy of pine trees. The ground up to the boys was steep and wet, he said, covered in slippery moss. It had started to rain.
Her team moved most of their rescue equipment to the scene – sloping, empty land in the community of Winona Lakes that towered over the cliffside – as they could with the remaining sunlight they had. Portable generators and tripod lighting, ropes, rigging equipment, and a basket large enough to lift an injured body.
“We were told there were no injuries, but we can’t be sure,” Luisi said.
Soon the rescuers began their descent. Two roped harnesses sank about 100 feet and set up more gear, then two more sank 50 feet lower for the boys and Titan. A group of spectators have gathered right next to the site, waiting. Luisi was standing on top of the cliff and coordinating the rescue. Every few minutes, he phoned the control center for weather updates while his team worked below, out of sight. The last remaining sun had long gone out.
“There was no visibility for us in the high end,” Luisi said. “The wind started to pick up, and we had a lot of lightning and thunder towards the tail. We were falling in heavy rain.”
Finally, they appeared. One by one, and fitted with makeshift harnesses, the boys climbed up and were pulled to safety, each reaching the top about an hour apart.
Titan was the last to arrive at 9:44 p.m. He looked scared, Luisi said, and the boys were shaken up as well. All were seen by an EMS on the spot, but none were injured.
“Mission accomplished,” Luisi said.
Saturday’s incident is one of 1,000 fire, rescue and medical emergencies that the Marshalls Creek Fire Company responds to each year. The company covers about 85 square miles of Monroe County – “a lot of land, a lot of water and a lot of cliffs,” Luisi said – and its members are trained to ensure the success of such rescues.
The company is made up of around 45 volunteers and is always looking for new members.
“Anyone interested in joining us, or seeing what we’re doing, can come to our weekly exercises on Tuesday, starting at 7pm at our main station,” Luisi said.
People can also donate bottled water or Gatorade at the station, located at 112 Marshalls Creek Road in Marshalls Creek. Monetary donations can be made through paypal.me/marshallscreekfire.
Hannah Phillips is a public safety reporter at Pocono Record. Contact her at [email protected]