'Great outcome': Rochester Fire captain credits quick response for river rescue of boy

Rochester Fire Department leaders say a quick response helped save a four-year-old boy with autism after he went into the Zumbro River over the weekend.

A captain with the Rochester Fire Department has been breathing a huge sigh of relief since the rescue Sunday afternoon

It happened at Spider Web Park when a four-year-old boy ended up in the neighboring Zumbro River. Family and others in the park called 911. Emergency crews rushed to the boy’s aid. He floated for about a quarter mile under the Broadway Bridge. He only got about a thousand yards because a Rochester firefighter quickly jumped in to save him.

“It could’ve been catastrophic,” said Rochester Fire Department Captain Caleb Feine. “This could’ve been a tragedy. Luckily, it was not. Especially with a holiday weekend, but with the fire station right here right across the street - very quick response on all accounts. Quick notification of emergency services. This had a great outcome and this is what we obviously hope for, but absolutely it could’ve gone a different direction.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every day about ten people die from unintentional drowning. Of these, two are children aged 14 or younger. Drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States. 

Fortunately, thanks to the folks to called 911 and the Rochester Fire Department, the boy survived and is doing okay.