Golden retrievers rescued from 24-foot-deep sewer pipe in Springdale Township
Remi and Bella probably didn’t know what all the fuss was about. Which is probably to be expected – they’re dogs.
But people living on Williams Street in Springdale Township were wondering as firefighters from three departments lit up their dead-end street Thursday night to rescue the two golden retrievers from deep down a drain pipe.
Volunteer crews from the Allegheny Valley, Eureka and Frazer fire companies took part in the two-hour rescue in the woods off the Williams Street Park ballfield that started about 7:30 p.m.
The dogs belong to Linda Stiehler, who lives not too far away on Washington Street in Springdale, said her friend, John Kovel, from Carson Street. The dogs escaped, Kovel said.
“She was looking for them most of the evening,” he said.
Stiehler and another friend were looking for the dogs when they heard them barking from the bottom of the storm sewer pipe.
Springdale Township police Officer Todd MacDonald said the area was about 75 yards into the woods from the park, which isn’t far from Springdale Junior-Senior High School.
Allegheny Valley fire Chief Kevin Funkhouser said the dogs were 24 feet straight down.
The pipe was 4 feet around and covered with a 1,000-pound grate.
Funkhouser said the dogs entered the stormsewer system somewhere else, maybe chasing an animal, and got to the dead end.
“We had no clue where they went in,” he said.
“We could see them down there. They were barking,” he said. “Luckily they stayed at the bottom of the hole.”
Funkhouser said firefighters used winches on two all-terrain vehicles belonging to his department and Frazer to lift the grate.
Susan Clark, a Eureka rescue captain, went down the pipe on a ladder, and firefighters used a dog harness to pull them out one at a time.
Clark could not be reached for comment at the fire hall later.
Remi came out first, followed by Bella. While waiting for Bella, Remi lapped up water Kovel had brought with him.
Stiehler thanked all the fire departments as she left with her dogs. Nobody was hurt in the rescue effort, and the dogs did not appear hurt, either.
“They’re perfect,” she said. “They’re just bad.”
Brian Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or via Twitter @BCRittmeyer.