Firefighters rescue dog from freezing water in Stearns County lake

Pictured is Kya, a 6-year-old rescue German Shepard, and her owner. Kya was rescued by firefighters after falling into an icy lake. (Picture provided by Chain of Lakes Fire and Rescue) (Supplied)

Firefighters in Stearns County made a heroic rescue Thursday after a dog fell through thin ice off the shore of a lake. 

Firefighters responded to the initial call at Great Northern Lake in Wakefield Township around 9:12 a.m. for a dog in the water after falling through thin ice. 

When crews arrived, they saw Kya, a 6-year-old German Shepard, about 125 feet away from the shoreline swimming in the cold water. 

Chain of Lakes Fire and Rescue Chief Dean Holthaus told FOX 9 the rescue team slowly crawled on thin ice over to Kya, who had been in the water for about 22 minutes, and pulled her out to safety.

At the time of the incident, Kya was outside with her owner, who was shoveling his driveway on the 17000 block of Fisher Road. After noticing she had wandered off, the owner called her a few times and looked across the bay to see Kya running across the ice, Holthaus said.

He explained at one point, Kya started running on the frozen lake towards a water spot of thin ice about 10-15 feet in diameter and fell in. The ice on the lake was an estimated three-quarters of an inch to an inch thick at the time of the incident. 

"As a reminder, this time of the year the ice on our lakes is very unpredictable. Cold water temperatures and swift currents can quickly incapacitate even the strongest swimmers. If you witness someone fall through the ice immediately call 911," the department said in a Facebook post

Holthaus estimated the department averages one or two animal rescues per year which are primarily dogs falling through the ice.  

Firefighters on Great Northern Lake during a dog rescue (Photo credit Chain of Lakes Fire and Rescue)