Friday, January 27, 2012


California Firefighter Crawls 40 Feet in Pipe to Save Dog

A dog stuck in a 36-inch-diameter drainage pipe under a Mill Valley fire road was rescued by a firefighter who crawled in and pulled the animal out.

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Jan. 26--A dog stuck in a 36-inch-diameter drainage pipe under a Mill Valley fire road was rescued by a firefighter who crawled in and pulled the animal out.

The incident unfolded about 1 p.m. Wednesday when Mill Valley firefighters were called by a dog walker who reported an elderly collie under her care was stuck in the pipe at Two Tanks Fire Road above West Blithedale Avenue.

The dog, Sierra, fell into the pipe head first, slipped down and could not get out. "It slides down the pipe, maybe 40 feet," Mill Valley Battalion Chief Tom Welch said. "We tried to coax her out," he said, but nothing seemed to work, including special extrication equipment brought in by the Marin Humane Society.

"Finally, we sent a guy down there, grabbed the dog and pulled her out," Welch said. It was a "confined space rescue" task that Southern Marin Fire District engineer Ryan Tokuda had special training for -- but never before had to use. Tethered to the surface and using special breathing and other gear, Tokuda went in for the stricken animal.

"She was pretty stressed," Tokuda said. "When I got within five feet of her, she was a little freaked out," he added. "I had a mask on." Tokuda said he didn't give the situation a second thought. "It's all in a day's work," he said.

Contact Nels Johnson via email at ij.civiccenter@gmail.com
Copyright 2012 - The Marin Independent Journal, Novato, California

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