"We gotta get him out of there," Cecelia Cardasio said Wednesday, looking at a helpless Canada goose stuck in the French Broad River.
She was one of the first people to call the Woodfin Fire Department when she noticed the goose struggling in the ice.
"It tears at my heartstrings. I love animals. That's why I called for help," Cardasio said.
Asheville Fire Department Capt. Richard Rauschenbach said the Woodfin Fire Department tried pouring hot water into the river to help break the ice. When that was unsuccessful, Woodfin asked the Asheville Fire Department to bring its ladder truck.
"We're, obviously, hoping to get him out but we'll see," Rauschenbach said.
As time went on, onlookers got more nervous, but had renewed hope each time the goose moved.
"I'm afraid," Cardasio said. "He was drinking water earlier."
Eventually, the fire department came over to break the bad news to Cardasio -- the goose didn't make it. Rescue workers were able to get him out of the water, but it appeared as though he died after that. The goose was taken REACH Animal Hospital, where officials said he was dead on arrival. He appeared to have a broken leg.
Rauschenbach said these cold temperatures present challenges for firefighters, whether the call is for a rescue or a fire. He said they keep pumps running when it's cold so water doesn't freeze. And they have a medic bus on scene so they can switch out personnel. That way their crews don't spend dangerous amounts of time in the freezing temperatures.
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