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Jetski incident prompts DFRD action

Two men went over the dam on a jetski at the Demopolis Lock and Dam on Saturday, but were unharmed in the fall.

At 7:14 p.m., the Demopolis Fire and Rescue Department responded to the call. They were joined by members of the U.S. Corps of Engineers who also assisted in getting Ty Shauer and Justin Reese to shore.

DFRD chief Ronnie Few said this was the third incident in the last two months involving a boating incident in Demopolis.

“In a town where you have water in the downtown area, like a river, it is imperative that you have emergency support on the river,” he said. “I know we have the Marine Police, but it’s usually one person working on the water.

“It’s getting to the point where we have some people training for that now, and we are just about ready to put our water rescue team in place.”

Few said that it is easy to get into a predicament on the river if you don’t see a sign or know the river well.

“You could miss one sign on the river, and you’re in trouble,” he said. “One of the good things about our fire personnel is that some of them grew up on that river, and they know it very well. That’s a plus.

“It looks like there is time for us now to branch out and expand our service over into water rescue. It’s something I need to talk to the mayor about and the city’s public safety committee.”

Few said that the jetski incident and others like it have prompted him to move the DFRD water rescue team concept forward.

“The biggest thing is that, when someone has a problem out there, we need somebody to respond quickly, and I think our fire department is a good fit for that,” he said.