Firefighters rescue 14-year-old dog from sinkhole in Pennsylvania

Posted at 6:11 PM, Aug 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-17 18:11:23-04

OLD FORGE, Pa. -- A Pennsylvania fire department came to the rescue of a dog that fell into a sinkhole.

A firefighter from Old Forge was lowered down and pulled Damon, a 14-year-old Husky, out of that hole Thursday afternoon.

Tom Borthwick of Old Forge told WNEP he was surprised to see the hole that had opened up on his family's property, and even more surprised when he got close to the edge and saw his son's dog at the bottom.

Borthwick thought he'd spend the afternoon cutting the grass but then things took an interesting turn.

"I saw a hole in the yard and I thought, 'what's that?' I walked over and saw that my son's dog was in the hole. He's a 14-year-old Husky, he's got a little arthritis, so I hope he's OK. He looks like he's OK," Borthwick said.

Damon the dog was about eight feet below ground in a sinkhole that was likely caused by this week's heavy rain.

The Borthwicks called the police and then the fire department which came equipped with a ladder truck, a pulley system, and a few of Damon's favorite treats.

Firefighters lowered Lt. Ron Coles into the hole. He came back up with an unharmed Husky.

Damon's people were a bit worried about how he'd fare but Damon was just fine.

"Seemed tired, he didn't want to fight, just tired. It was really easy to put the harness around, attach him to me, no fight," Lt. Coles said.

The fire department has run a few pet rescue operations but a dog in a sinkhole is admittedly a new one.

"They didn't go up, they went down this time!"

It's been a rough week for many in Old Forge, hit hard by this week's flooding. For this team of first responders, a happy ending was long overdue.

"The firemen, they've been running nonstop from road closures, and flooding roadways, to pumping hundreds and hundreds of basements throughout the borough. So, you got to give a lot of credit to them for them to find the time to pick a dog out of a hole," said Old Forge Police Chief Jason Dubernas.

Damon won't be allowed in the backyard for a while. Officials from the Office of Surface Mining plan to come out on Friday to check out the sinkhole and try to figure out how to fix it.