Firefighters to the rescue in bluff drama

Emergency crews pull two women, dog from muddy ravine in nature preserve in Town of Grafton

GRAFTON FIRE DEPARTMENT Division Chief Matthew Karpinski held a line as firefighters rescued two women who became trapped below the edge of the bluff at Lion’s Den Gorge while searching for a dog Friday, Jan. 11. Grafton Fire Chief Bill Rice said the rescue operation went smoothly, crediting assistance from the Port Washington and Mequon fire departments and Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Department Office.
Ozaukee Press Staff

Members of the Grafton Fire Department last week rescued two women who became stuck in mud about 40 feet from the top of the bluff at Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve while retrieving a dog that went over the edge.

The fire department responded to an emergency call in the Town of Grafton at approximately 8 a.m. Friday, Jan. 15.

“At first we thought it was somebody out in the field area. They were down about 40 feet, and it was extremely muddy, which is common after it rains,” Grafton Fire Chief Bill Rice said.

Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Office deputies located the women, who are in their 20s, using a drone equipped with an infrared camera because the women were covered in mud.

Assisting in the rescue were the Port Washington and Mequon fire departments, which have an agreement with Grafton to share equipment and train together for bluff rescues.

Rice said the rescue went smoothly and the women and dog were uninjured, but that might have not been the case a year ago.

“I was impressed with the professionalism the rescuers used. We were able to put harnesses on the women and some other protective equipment that allowed us to bring them and the dog up over the edge.” he said.

“A year ago, we didn’t have all of that equipment and training to the level that we have now. It was an impressive improvement to our capabilities.”

This is the third time in the past year the department had to rescue people stranded on the bluff.

Rice said park visitors need to pay attention to where they are when traversing near the bluff.

“The whole bluff is constantly changing, and it could be potentially dangerous,” he said. “The problem is there is a massive eroded bluff and that’s why people go to Lion’s Den, to walk up to the edge of the bluff.

“A commonality is a lot of dogs go over and their owners chase after them.”



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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Port Washington, WI 53074
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