An amazing rescue was caught on camera in Elma. Video recorded by an Erie County Sheriff's Office Deputy shows three volunteer fire companies racing against time to rescue two horses who through ice and into a pond.
The pond was located outside of a home at 5880 Clinton Street, according to dispatchers.
"You couldn't look in the eyes of the horses, and not just keep plugging along to get them out," said Chief Mark Schaefer with the Blossom Fire Company. Schaefer said the ice on the pond was about six inches thick, but still not strong enough to withstand the weight of the two horses.
Chief Schaefer said that at least 30 firefighters came from Blossom, Elma and Springbrook Fire Companies.
"They were getting weaker and weaker, and we could see there wasn't much time," Schaefer said. "We swung those axes until we broke a channel through the ice. And then with a little bit of help with the harnesses, we were able to convince them to come out."
Schaefer said that it was a true team effort. On top of the multiple fire companies who responded, the Erie County Sheriff's Office and State Police were on the scene. The SPCA also reached a vet to communicate with Schaefer about treating the horses. The horses owners also helped coax the animals out of the bitter cold water.
"With warming and they started to feed a little bit, and compassion from the owners, they calmed down and they were doing very well when we left," Schaefer said.
Every volunteer on the scene was a volunteer. Schaefer said that showcases the true sentiment of western New Yorkers.
"It says a lot," he explained, "that we can pull that many people together at that time of the day. They drop everything they're doing and come right out to help a neighbor."