Auburn firefighter Julian Beale, front, acting as the victim, is pulled ashore on a sled and assisted by the rescuer, Eric Saunders, in back, during an ice rescue training exercise. The training was conducted by the Auburn Fire Dept on Taylor Brook on Friday.

AUBURN — Local firefighters practiced their winter water rescue skills Friday, taking advantage of the warmer weather.

They converged on Taylor Brook Pond in the morning to test their equipment and practice their routines, supervised by Capt. Don Flanagan.

One firefighter dressed in cold water gear ventured out into the water while others prepared to save him. Another firefighter, also dressed for the cold, walked out on the ice with a raft and rope. The two lay on the raft, which was reeled in by those on shore.

Platoon Chief Richard McFadden said the crew practices as often as they’re able, weather permitting. The last time a real rescue happened, they successfully saved a golden retriever trapped on the ice on the Androscoggin River off River Road, he said.

The crew came back Friday afternoon to perform a boat rescue at the same spot, he said. They trained with ropes for weeks before going on ice.

McFadden said the emergency workers also respond to rescue calls in Lewiston.

“This is a talented group, right here,” he said. 

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