Zanesville Fire Department Takes to the Water

by Brittany Shannon on September 23, 2010 at 6:33 am

It’s a site you wouldn’t normally see. Firefighters placing cars into the Muskingum River.

"Simulating vehicles going into the river and going out to a tow release from the river," says Lt. Eric Waltemire of the Zanesville Fire Department.

It’s all for training purposes. The Zanesville Fire Department Dive Team is training for the chance that a car could end up in a body of water.

"We occasionally get those calls that we have vehicles and we have recovery vehicles from the river and we got divers and we’re training them to do this," says Lt. Waltemire.

Once the car is in the water, that’s the dive team’s time to shine. In complete scuba gear, they’re ready to bring the car ashore.

"We’ll go out, hook the cars and A1 Towing will bring it back in," says Roger Hobson, Firefighter for the Zanesville Fire Department.

In addition to recovering cars from the bottom of the river, they’re also looking for evidence which requires them to crawl along the bottom of the river in search for whatever they are looking for.

"You can’t see anything underneath the water. Once you get down to about three feet, the sunlight’s gone, it will be pitch black, everything will be hands-on. You can’t talk to each other, you can’t give hand signals to each other," says Hobson.

Having certified recovery divers available is a great resource for the city and county.

"A lot of miles of river running right through the heart of the city. So for us it will mean added safety and services for the city," says Lt. Waltemire.

And a common response for why they do it is, "we love it, we actually do love it," says Hobson.

Newton Township and Falls Township also have dive teams who all work together.