Recent Activities: 2016

October 24, 2016


Station 77 was dispatched to assist the Norristown Fire department (MC 27) with a water rescue at the Hawes Avenue recreation area. Initial reports were that an individual was being chased by Norristown Police officers and had jumped into the Schuylkill River in an attempt to elude them. They did maintain visual sighting of the individual and required boats to get to the island that the individual had swam to. Dive-Rescue 77-1 and Boat 77-1 made the initial response. Upon reaching the half-way point, and just prior to the response of Dive-Rescue 77-2, Station 77 was recalled as the police department reported to have had apprehended the individual.


October 22, 2016


Squad 77 participated in the annual Borough of Phoenixville Halloween Parade.


October 13, 2016


Dive-Rescue 77-1, Boat 77-1 and Dive-Rescue 77-2 traveled to the annual Tri-County muster of emergency apparatus sponsored by the Norco Fire Company (CC-64). Station 77 apparatus was among MANY pieces of emergency equipment that gathered at the Coventry Mall to be viewed by residents of quite a number of localities.


October 12, 2016


Station 77 was invited to participate in the static Fire Prevention Week display held by the Alert Fire Company (CC-45) in Downingtown. After working a recent drowning incident with them the officers of Station 45 thought that the citizens of the Downingtown area would be interested in taking a look at our unique dive truck. Dive-Rescue 77-1 and Boat 77-1 (water rescue) and Dive-Rescue 77-2 (underwater recovery) participated in the display. Quite a number of local residents turned out for the event. Our thanks to the 45-House for their kind invitation and hospitality.


September 15, 2016


Station 77 was dispatched to assist the Wagontown Fire Company (CC35) with a water recovery at Chambers Lake in Hibernia Park. Team members responded with Dive-Rescue 77-1 and Boat 77-1, Dive-Rescue 77-2 and Dive-Rescue 77-3. Upon our arrival Hibernia Command (Chief 35) advised that several witness saw an elderly male fall out of a fishing kayak and fail to re-surface. A HASTY search of the surrounding woods by the Chester County Park Rangers and a water search using an underwater video camera by the water rescue team in Boat 35 had thus far failed to locate the victim. After re-interviewing witnesses a dive plan was mapped out and an exhaustive bottom search of the LSP, primary search area and part of an adjoining search area was conducted. That effort failed to locate the victim. With dusk fast approaching and the recourses available at the time already expended a decision was made not to attempt to light up the very remote areas of the dive scene and the command area and call in additional divers with an extended response time but instead to suspend the search. A plan was formulated whereby for the next two days the lake would be checked by the Park Rangers in their boat and on Sunday a blitz of the lake would be conducted by our divers and divers from the Telford Diving Unit (MC64) after the bottom had been properly mapped by a 360 degree SONAR unit. On late Saturday morning the victim floated and the recovery was made by the water rescue crew from Boat 35 as well as the Chester County Park Rangers. Also assisting at the Thursday search were boats and water rescue crews from the Linonville Fire Company (CC47) and the Downingtown Fire Department (CC45-46). Their 4 boats and trained crews went a long way towards making the dive operation run efficiently. Our condolences are extended to the victim's family.


Sept. 10, 2016


In what has now become a yearly event for us Team members took Dive-Rescue 77-1, Boat 77-1 and Dive-Rescue 77-2 to the Kimberton Fire Company (CC 61) for their annual 'Touch A truck Day' event. Each year the Kimberton Fire Company gathers together their own fire apparatus along with other specialized invited trucks such as tow trucks, tanker trucks, large work trucks, military trucks and the like for several hours where kids of all ages climb in, over, under and around the vehicles to explore what the trucks do and how they do it. As with many of the public relations events Station 77 attends a highlight was kids jumping into our boats to do pretend water rescues.


July 21, 2016


In a very early morning dispatch Station 77 was dispatched to assist the Gladwyne Fire Company with a water search and recovery in Lower Merion. Local police had reported that a subject had fled from them; ran into the Schuylkill River; and subsequently disappeared below the surface of the water. Station 77 personnel arrived with Dive-Rescue 77-1, Dive-Rescue 77-2 and Boat 77-1 to be assigned by the Command to work with divers on location from the Spring Mill Fire Company (MC 45) and the Telford Diving Unit (MC 64) to formulate a 'dive plan' after an extensive search by seven local fire company boats, the marine unit of the Philadelphia Fire Department; and Tac-Air from the PPD was unable to locate the victim. It was decided that personnel from Station 77 would run underwater video operations out of Telford's boat while divers from Spring Mill would dive the LSP. Shortly after the operations began a recovery was made.


July 17, 2016


Station 77 was requested by the Tredyffrin Township Police Department to conduct an evidence dive/search in a quarry in the Paoli area. Due to local reports of the quarry being in excess of 140 feet deep in some areas the Telford Diving Unit (MC 64) was requested by us to assist in conducting a 'deep dive' to the bottom. Upon arrival Station 77 personnel mapped the quarry for depth while Telford personnel conducted wide-area sonar mapping. Command personnel were astonished to find the results being that the maximum depth of the quarry was 27 feet! Subsequent investigation revealed that in the 1970's the quarry was 'filled in' using massive amounts of earth from a very sizeable construction site in the area. The overall size of the quarry had been reduced by some two-thirds while the depth was decreased from the reported 140 feet to the mapped 27 feet. Station 77 divers and Telford divers searched the quarry but found no evidence that the PD was looking for. A special 'Thank You' goes out to the Paoli Fire Company and EMS (Station 4) for their assistance at the scene; the North Penn - Goodwill Canteen Unit (MC 41) for their assistance in keeping our divers hydrated (the air temperature was 90+ with very high humidity); and the Dive Docs and Hyperbaric Chamber at the University of Pennsylvania which had been placed on stand-by when a 'deep dive' was originally planned.


May 30, 2016


Station 77 was dispatched into East Coventry Township to assist the Ridge Fire Company (Station 62) and the local police with a body recovery from a creek. Upon response Station 77 was notified that units on location had determined that no dive team services would be required and the Station was recalled.


May 1, 2016


Once again this year Station 77 traveled cross-County to provide water safety services for the annual Northbrook Canoe Race. This yearly event is sponsored by the Chester County Cerebral Palsy Association as their primary fundraiser. The eight mile canoe race on the Brandywine Creek, undertaken by both semi-professional canoeists as well as amateur canoeists who are sponsored by donors, is held in early-Spring when the water is historically still cold. Our attendance at this event provides our Team with a good opportunity to practice our skill set while at the same time helping to support a very worthwhile charity as a part of our on-going commitment to provide community service. This year saw several racers taken out of the race early due to on-set of hypothermia as well as quite a number of canoes overturning due to an increased number of natural obstacles in the creek this year. This is the 21'st year that Station 77 has participated. Station 77 was once again assisted this year by the very capable water rescue crews from West Bradford Fire Company (CC Station 39), the Telford Diving Unit (MC Station 64), The Good Fellowship Ambulance (CC55) as well as this year by both the water rescue crew and EMS service of the Modena Fire Company (CC37).


April 24, 2016


Team members took Dive-Rescue 77-1 and Dive-Rescue 77-2 with Boats 77-1 & 4 to the Kimberton Fire Company (CC61). There they joined with local Police, Fire and EMS units to participate in a 'Girl Scout Safety Day' attended by some 80 girl scouts. 'Teams' of girl scouts rotated through a number of informational/awareness stations where they were given basic instruction by emergency services providers on topics such as first aid; handling small kitchen fires; home safety; and in the case of Station 77 - water and boating safety; pool safety; and how to perform a basic and safe rescue of a drowning victim.


February 25, 2016


Station 77 was dispatched to assist the Kimberton Fire Company (CC61) with an early-morning water rescue on Pickering Road off Merlin Road. Dive-Rescue 77-1 arrived to find a motorist reported to be out of her vehicle some 150 yards down a roadway flooded out by the creek next to it that had overflown its banks. The victim was located, extricated from the water and turned over to West End EMS (CC67) for evaluation.


February 24, 2016


Station 77 was dispatched to assist the Twin Valley Fire Company (CC69) with a late-evening water rescue on Conestoga Road east of Ironstone Lane. A motorist had become stranded on the flooded roadway after a severe thunderstorm. Shortly after Dive-Rescue 77-1 responded the local fire chief recalled the assignment as the victim had self-extricated.


February 9, 2016


Station 77 was dispatched to assist the Norco Fire Company (CC Sta. 64) and the North Coventry Police Department with a car in the Schuylkill River at the boat launch ramp adjacent to the Pottstown Quoit Club on Penn Street in North Coventry Township. Upon response of Dive-Rescue 77-1, Dive-Rescue 77-2 and Boat 77-1 we were advised that the water rescue team from Linfield Fire Company (MC Sta. 51) was on location but was unable to extricate the vehicle which was totally submerged. At that point, having confirmed that the call was a dive operation, Dive-Rescue 77-3 as well as Utility 77 and Boat 77-2 responded. Upon arrival on location the local PD confirmed that the submerged vehicle most probably belonged to an individual that gone missing in the area a few days prior. A recovery plan was formulated and approved by the local Police Chief and Fire Chief that was designed to preserve evidence and foster further investigation on shore. With the assistance of shore personnel from Norco and Linfield, Station 77 divers worked with a local towing company to remove the vehicle from the river to the boat ramp for further investigation. Upon confirmation that a victim was still in the vehicle divers from Station 77 then checked the immediate vicinity of the river bottom where the vehicle had come to rest for any additional evidence or victims. The incident continues to be under investigation by the local PD and the Chester County Coroner's office.


January 1, 2016


In what has now become a New Year's Day tradition the Team once again traveled to Pottstown Borough to provide water safety services to the Pottstown Recreation Department for their annual "Polar Bear Plunge". Twelve Team members too DR 77-1, DR 77-2, DR 77-3 and Boat 77-1 to the event. With a water temperature of 38 degrees some 200 brave souls shed most of their clothing, as well as their sanity, and plunged into the Schuylkill River. With assistance from our sister team, Telford Diving Unit, water rescue personnel in boats, on shore and in-water established a safety area around the plunge site ready to aid any participants in distress or who required assistance in exiting the river.