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False Report of Child in River Brings Out Searchers
Staff Reports,
06:43PM / Sunday, September 11, 2011

Adams firefighters return to the station on Sunday after a report of a child in the river proved false.

ADAMS, Mass. — The report of a child falling into the Hoosic River on Sunday afternoon turned out to be false, but not before some 60 emergency responders, including a dive team, spent more than an hour scouring a section of the river.

Fire Chief Paul Goyette said another youngster had made the report, claiming a child had fallen in near the Grove Street area, at about 3:10 p.m. Further interviews with the child by Police Chief Donald Poirot and police officers determined the incident had never occurred.

Still, Goyette said, "we had to take it as a credible report until proven differently." He had watch teams set up every quarter mile downstream along the river, which has been higher and running swifter than normal because of the recent heavy rains.

"We had teams with ropes and personal flotation devices, life vests, as well as water suits," said the chief. "Because of the potential scope we called in the Berkshire County Dive Team."

In addition to the dive team, Adams Police and Adams Ambulance Service, Hinsdale, Cheshire and North Adams fire departments were involved, as were North Adams Police and Ambulance Service.

Adams firefighters donned wetsuits and went into the water at Commercial Street; North Adams set up on the bridge at Hodges Cross Road and sent searchers up river.

Berkshire County Rope Rescue was called to standby for a possible swift water rescue.

The incident was cleared at 4:30. While no rescue was necessary, it did work as a drill.

North Adams units set up downstream to help in the search.

"The coordination of various agencies went well; the cooperation of various agencies went well," said Goyette. "We had our bases covered."

However, there was some concern over bystanders who tried to join in the search. While their efforts were appreciated, Goyette said it was better to leave such situations to those best trained in emergency response. Well meaning civilians could put not only themselves in danger but emergency responders.

Safety for all is paramount, he said, especially considering it was Sept. 11. "We're all going home; everyone is accounted for."


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