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Just before 8 a.m. on  Sunday morning, Jan. 3, a passer-by saw a woman and a dog in the retention pond on Northwestern University’s campus. The passer-by called for help using one of the blue-light emergency call boxes on campus.

Upon arrival, firefighters saw a female and her dog in icy water approximately 40 feet from shore. The woman apparently went onto the ice after her golden retriever that had wondered onto the retention pond and had fallen through. The woman fell through the ice as well.

 Evanston Firefighter/Paramedic Jennifer Lo Bianco suited up in an ice water rescue suit, and crossed the ice into the water to rescue the woman. Once the woman was brought to safety, fire personnel were able to safely retrieve the dog. The woman was transported to Evanston Hospital. She and the dog both survived the ordeal.  

According to fire officials, a person cannot always tell the strength of ice simply by its look, its thickness, the temperature or whether or not it is covered with snow. Ice covered by snow always should be presumed unsafe, they say. They add, “The most logical ice safety measure is to stay off the ice, and if you are walking a dog near a frozen body of water always use a leash.”