FARMINGTON — Firefighters were called Tuesday night to rescue a teenager who wandered off Front Street and into the swollen waters of the Sandy River.
The youth and his friend walked down a small dirt road behind McDonald’s, an area used as a snow dump by the town, where the river often backs up during high water.
The were spotted by police Chief Ted Blais of the Department of Public Safety at the University of Maine at Farmington, who decided to check on the nearby university parking lot on Front Street when he spotted the youngsters. One was standing on dry land looking at his friend who had ventured out to a higher elevation, “a little island of sorts” and was standing with water up to his knees, Blais said.
He attempted to come back out but the water was coming in to the area and he was soon up to his waist, Blais said. He decided the youngster had better stay on the higher spot while he called one of his officers, who called the Fire Department shortly after 6:30 p.m.
Ten members of Farmington Fire and Rescue responded with two donning suits and taking the department’s rescue apparatus out to the teen.
“He said he could get back out, but the two guys who went out were in water up to their shoulders and he was a bit shorter than them. He would have had to swim,” Fire Chief Terry Bell said.
The high waters of the Sandy River had started to recede Wednesday morning, said Tim Hardy, director of the Franklin County Emergency Management Agency. Only one spot at the bridge on the George Thomas Road near the Chesterville-New Sharon line was closed Wednesday due to high water, he said.