BLOOMINGTON — A Bloomington woman was rescued late Monday morning after falling through the ice in a pond behind her home while trying to save her dog.

Mike Young heard his neighbor, Wendy Rogers, screaming for help about 11 a.m. and saw the woman submerged in the lake and clinging to the edge of the ice behind her home in the 3100 block of Monterey Road in Bloomington. Officials said she was about 30 feet from shore.

“I am so glad I am on sabbatical and happened to be home and could hear her,” said Young, who called 911. Emergency crews arrived a few minutes later.

“I tried to get to her and to help, but it was just too dangerous,” the Illinois Wesleyan University history professor said.

Rescue officials estimated Rogers was in the water about 10 minutes. The air temperature was about 8 degrees at the time she fell in.

 One firefighter wearing a cold weather survival suit and tethered to a rope went out on the ice and entered the water to assist the victim out of the water. The engineer and officer, using the rope, helped pull the victim and firefighter onto the shore, Bloomington Deputy Fire Chief Les Siron said.

“Our guys train for situations like this and as they head to the scene, they get the necessary suits on and are ready to go when they step off of the truck. Every second counts in something like this,” said Siron.

Rogers was taken to Advocate BroMenn Medical Center for observation.

“She had let her dog out and then noticed that the dog had fallen through the ice,” Siron said. “She went out to rescue the dog and then fell through the ice, too. She was really lucky that he (Young) heard her screams. When we pulled up, she was just barely holding on to the ice. That water is really cold.”

The dog, a west highland white terrier, also was rescued. Young and his wife took the animal to a veterinarian to be checked out.

Bloomington Fire Chief Mike Kimmerling said Young’s actions and those of the rescue department saved the woman’s life.

“If it weren’t for the neighbor hearing the screams for help, we would probably be searching for a missing person right now,” he said.

Siron said it was the first ice rescue he can remember. Kimmerling said the successful rescue was a result of previous training.

“We train for incidents like this all of the time,” he said. “There are so many times when the guys are out here training in these types of temperatures and training for these types of rescues. It makes you feel good when it works like it is supposed to.”

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(26) comments


I am so glad to read that this lady and her dog made it out of the water safely and in time before it turned tragic. Great job to the man who heard her screams and to the firefighters who saved them. This story needs to be read to all of the children in the area too. If a dog and a lady can fall through the ice on these ponds, so can children. Even though the ice looks solid, there is snow on top and you cannot see the weak spots if there are any out there anywhere. I would like to think that these ponds are frozen solid, but the reality is they are not, so as adults make sure children are not allowed on these ponds without an adult present and this incident of how you would rescue a child in the back of your mind at all times. Every year people loose their lives falling through the ice, and the majority of them are sadly children. Just a few weeks ago there was a boy in southern Illinois that fell through the ice, one boy survived, one boy did not. Again, I am glad that this story ended with the best outcome possible for the dog and the woman.


I'm glad this woman and her dog were rescued without a tragedy. That aside, I think she should be charged for the cost of the services provided. Had she obeyed the leash laws of Bloomington, this would never have happened.


The dog was in her backyard. The law doesn't require a leash on your own property.


Unless her yard includes the lake, the dog was not in her backyard and needed to be leashed.


OMG you are so ignorant. Drive by one of those ponds and tell me where it starts and stops with the snow on top of the ice/water and then tell me a dog is going to know where the grass underneath the snow ends. Personally I don't think this lady will be charged for her rescue except the ride to the hospital which I do believe is now charged for anyone that they take to the hospital, even you in a fender bender. My advice for anyone that lives with a property that backs up to one of these ponds without a fenced in yard and a dog for a pet, is to install a small space off the patio or deck with removable fencing in the spring. The dog just got confused because his or her territory now looked all the same, white with snow covering the ground and pond areas. This could have easily been a small child in his or her backyard and the parent turned their back for just a second. I'm just glad the dog and the woman survived and have a story to tell.


It doesn't matter the reason or the season. If a pet isn't likely to stay on its owner's property then its owner needs to put it on a leash. Has nothing to do with what the dog knows. I believe by suggesting a small fenced area you are basically agreeing that the dog should have been confined.


No leash was required in your back yard. Come on people have a heart! Geez no wonder this Country is so messed up! There such heartless people out there! It was an accident. Get over yourselves. I am grateful to rescue personnel and the neighbors. I am so happy her dog and the lady are OK. That is all that really matters.


Great job Bloomington FD!!!! While everyone complains about the pensions and benefits that firefighters receive, the firefighters are out there every day keeping the public (and all those who complain!) safe in their hour of need. Keep up the good work!!!!


I'm glad everyone is okay. I would never complain about their pensions..they deserve every penny!


What has their pension got to do with the story? Are you sure you aren't FiremanMom instead of SkaterMom?

Ted Kennedy's Drill Instructor
Ted Kennedy's Drill Instructor

Et vidi, et ecce sum reliquit comment




She should have just called the fire department to get her dog instead of walking on already broken ice. Completely self inflicted in my opinion. She should be responsible. She literally put herself in that situation according to the article.


I bet your not a pet owner?


Wow where is your heart? I would of jumped in for my animal too. She wasn't thinking at that moment. She saw her baby and instinct kicked in to save her baby! I take it you don't have anything or anyone you love that much. If you do I would hope nothing serious never happens like say an accident and you don't think. That is why they are called accidents! She didn't plan for this!

thoughts a million
thoughts a million

By definition, an "accident" is non-preventable. This was preventable.
And I've had at least two dogs in my family since I was born 57 years ago, and I have three children. And I'm smart enough not to go out onto ice; if it won't hold the dog's weight, it certainly won't hold me. I have a heart, but not much sympathy in this situation. Fortunately her neighbor heard her calls.


Would you have done it for your child? That dog is her child, and I am sure all she could think about was rescuing him.


It's too bad so many people find something to critize about such a great outcome to what could have been a real tragedy. I don't know if it makes any difference, but in their training the firefighters have to belly crawl through thick layers of goose droppings. Would you do that?

thoughts a million
thoughts a million

Do you realize that by presenting an opposing view, we might be educating readers on the correct thing to do if they encounter a similar situation?


Thank you thoughts a million. I love my animal as much as the next guy but what is more important in this situation, the human living or the dog and for your information whoever asked about crawling through bird droppings during firefighter training can drop that now because I work in sewers and crawl spaces for a living so I get to crawl around and come home everyday in HUMAN poop so I don't want to hear that. All I am saying is that lady put herself in a dangerous situation. Am I glad everyone is ok? Absolutely, but the situation could have also been avoided if she would have called the fire department herself and let them rescue the dog before putting herself in danger. FACT


Please wipe you mouth off- you keep spitting out chunks of stuff and messing up the keyboard. You sound like someone who loves his job.


Thank-you B.F.D. (hey Spoda)


My dog is like my son and I would do anything for him but I am smart enough at the same time to value my life first. I spent 2k this summer to save my dogs life and I do have a heart but I also think with logic and rational decision making, I don't make decisions based off of emotion, that's when "accidents" happen.

Thomas W

hats off to the courageous lady and for all you do gooders, learn from the lady and grow a back bone. dogs breathe feel and hurt to. there's no place for spineless cowards, joes towing provides us with all we can stand. Your a brave lady dear. a warrior for thinking of a hurting breathing animal to step up to the plate. YOUR AWESOME


Someone else who is AWESOME is Kevin Kutchma the Bloomington Fire Fighter from Hudson who jumped in to rescue her. Kutch you are a real local hero! We are lucky to have you on the BFD. You are living your dream and saving lives, and through this making a difference in the lives of so many others. Keep being incredible my friend! BB


Wipe you mouth off? Haha, what? I do enjoy my job by the way and was that supposed to offend me?

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