PEPPERELL — Foul play at the Pepperell Pond dam brought firefighters to the scene in a successful attempt to save six lives this week.
Fire Chief Toby Tyler, and firefighters Jonathan Kinney, Eric Allison, and Ken English responded to a call from police officer Haley Boutwell who was on traffic duty at the Main Street bridge while painting work was underway. Wednesday.
Six tiny balls of fluff were lodged against the dam’s wooden birm, slowly swirling toward mini-waterfalls created by gaps in the wood. The mother duck was flying in circles above the scene.
Shortly after firefighters arrived, two of the babies were swept through the wooden birm, bounced through water cascading down the face of the dam toward a series of waterfalls created by the rocks below.
They survived the tumble and pulled themselves onto an exposed rock. The four others continued to bob against the wood.
Kinney, with a safety line attached to a heavy line stretched across the dam, balanced himself atop the wood and walked out to the ducklings. He carefully “assisted” them to the river below in Chief Tyler’s words.
Shortly before noon, mother duck and children were assessing their predicament, gathered in two little bunches on rocks separated by swirling water.
“You’ve got to save the ducks somehow,” English said matter-of-factly.
The waterfoul’s next problem would be a large snapping turtle seen in the water.
During the rescue, Tyler made phone calls to bring a canoe to the site if necessary atop his personal farm truck. It wasn’t needed.
Cost to the town? $45 for three firefighters.
Having response ready for unusual emergencies? Priceless.
Any thanks from the victims? Not a quack. — Don Eriksson