Spring Break keeps local fire, EMS busy on land and on the water

March 21, 2021
By Marcy Shortuse

BY MARCY SHORTUSE – It’s been a busy week of ambulance calls, alarms and water rescues for the Boca Grande Fire Department, but one of the most admirable rescues that took place didn’t even happen on the island.
Boca Grande Firefighter Alex Moore was working part-time at a Sarasota gym last weekend when a man nearby went into cardiac arrest. He immediately began CPR, and eventually deployed a defibrillation unit that the gym kept on hand. Alex brought the man back to life, and the patient was breathing when Sarasota rescue units arrived. Very well done, Firefighter Moore.
On Sunday morning, March 14 at approximately 7 a.m. Boca Grande firefighters Lt. Mike D’Angelo and Firefighter Dean Esposito took the fire boat out to the north side of Pine Island for a call of two boaters overboard and an unmanned boat spinning in circles.
According to D’Angelo, when they arrived on scene they acquired a tow line from the Cape Coral Fire Department boat, drug it into the path of the unmanned boat, fouled the prop, then jumped on the boat.
The two boaters were picked up by bystanders, and their boat was not damaged.
When asked how he knew how to deploy that type of maneuver, D’Angelo said he had seen it done on a Coast Guard training video web site, and on other fire department videos.
“It’s a little dangerous, especially when the boat is going pretty fast, and in a real tight circle like this one was,” he said. “You have to time it just right, and you have to follow it without your boat get smashed into.”
D’Angelo said they had completed another unmanned boat rescue mission in the past by getting their boat up alongside the unmanned vehicle, then jumping in to take control.
“That time the other boat was going pretty slow,” D’Angelo said. “This one on Sunday was really moving. If this one would have crashed into a nearby dock, it would have really messed up the boat.”
D’Angelo has been with the Boca Grande Fire Department for 22 years.
On Tuesday, March 16 at approximately 2 p.m. firefighters and EMS responded to a water rescue call of a traumatic injury off Cayo Costa. The call came in as a 42-year-old male who was conscious and breathing who had cut his arm when jumping off the boat. The patient was transported by Boca Grande’s ambulance service to Englewood Community Hospital.
Also on Tuesday at approximately 11:46 a.m. the Boca Grande Fire Department responded to a water rescue about ½ mile out in the Gulf from 1st Street, where people were spotted on a yellow raft, possibly in a rip current.
It turned out the raft was empty.
Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office reported this week that there have been nine thefts of golf carts from residences recently, so keep your carts safe and the keys out of the ignition.