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Drama over Lake Decatur as firefighters rappel down to discarded infant car seat
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Drama over Lake Decatur as firefighters rappel down to discarded infant car seat

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DECATUR — An emergency call that happily proved to be a false alarm triggered a dramatic fire department rappelling operation Sunday morning over the frozen waters of Lake Decatur.

Members of the city’s fire department rescue team rappelled down from a height of some 25 feet, suspended from the extended arm of the tower truck, to check out an infant car seat lying on top of ice just behind the dam on the west side of the bridge carrying South Main Street.

Battalion Chief Wade Watson said the seat was retrieved, along with a cell phone lying nearby, but there was no sign of any child or any indication of a body.

“The ice wasn’t broken underneath and there was nothing in the infant seat,” Watson added. “It would appear someone had just thrown them out there, but for what reason I couldn’t even speculate. Someone had seen it and called it in and we were later able to confirm those items had been on the ice for several days.”

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Watson said the seat was upside down and there was no way to tell what was in it without approaching it. He said it could not be reached by boat and was too far out to be retrieved by other means. “So we used our rescue team and just rappelled down to it,” he added.

“You just never know what you are going to be doing at 9 o’clock in the morning in the fire department.”

Southbound traffic on the South Main Street side of the road bridge was shut down from roughly 8:30 a.m. until around 10 a.m. when the operation was complete. Watson said police were now attempting to obtain information from the cell phone.


PHOTOS: Decatur firefighters perform training exercises at future site of fire station No. 5

Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid

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