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Firefighters prepare for ice rescues

Greece, N.Y. -- Firefighters with the Lake Shore Fire District went out into the cold Saturday morning to practice ice rescues on Long Pond.  

Some parts of the ice are real thick, other parts are thin, said Chief Deputy James OCoin. People are getting out there, misjudging it and they're falling through. 

As the temperatures fluctuate, the ice, even at the thickest points, becomes brittle and unpredictable. 

Dont go on the ice. Thats my thing, OCoin said. No ice is safe, especially this time of year. 

Firefighters warn walking out onto ice fewer than four inches thick can be extremely dangerous. With only two to three inches covering the water, ice fishermen were out on the pond. 

Every year, people fall, fisherman Steven Benus said. Probably this pond alone like 20 people fell in and got pulled out last year. 

Benus was one of those people. 

It's scary as heck, Benus said. I fell through and I couldn't get out because the ice kept breaking around me.  

Thrashing in the freezing cold water, a friend was able to pull Benus to safety. 

He was there with me, thankfully, he said. I don't know how I would have gotten out, to be honest with you. 

OCoin said no one should ever be near the water alone and he urged people to stay off of snow banks and ice packets along the shore of Lake Ontario. Waves rolling in have formed large deposits of snow and ice right along the water. 

Well, thats very inviting to kids, but again, we dont want kids on snow banks and pack ice like that, OCoin said. There are voids in it, these kids could fall through and no one knows there out there. It could be a long time before we even find out someone went in.  

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Washington Times