Brevard County Fire Rescue Saves Horse Swimming Pool

(Brevard County, FL)- Firefighters from Brevard County Fire Rescue (BCFR) were dispatched this afternoon to a home on Pinewood Road in Melbourne for a report of a horse in a backyard swimming pool.  Firefighters responded at 4:06 p.m. and arrived two minutes later to find the horse calm and awaiting rescue in chest deep water.

According to residents of the home, three boys were swimming in the enclosed pool just after 1:30 p.m. when the horse slipped into the screened enclosure through a door that was partially open.  As the horse was being led back out into the yard, the horse became frightened and backed up into the pool. 

The horse, a retired race horse according to its owner, is just 6 years old and stubbornly refused to exit the pool using the stairs provided.  A local vetinarian was called to the scene to check the horse for injuries and after nearly two and a half hours of trying to coax the horse out of the pool, the frustrated group called 911 for assistance from BCFR and Brevard County Animal Services & Enforcement.

The first arriving crews recognized immediately that this was not an ordinary rescue and called for the department’s Special Operations Team.  A select few members of the Special Operations Team received advanced training in animal rescue during a class that was offered in collaboration with the Brevard Zoo and also included representatives from Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  During the class, the firefighters received training on caring for sick/injured animals, as well as various techniques for rescuing entrapped animals.  As part of the class, members had the opportunity to hoist and “rescue” a llama, two horses, and a rhinoceros.

After continued attempts to assist the horse out of the water proved unsuccessful, crew members put their training and problem-solving skills to use.  Under the direction of the vetinarian and with the approval of the homeowner, firefighters removed a portion of the pool enclosure and called in a heavy-duty wrecker that is normally used by Fire Rescue Fleet to tow fire engines.  Using a makeshift sling rigged to the back of the tow truck, the crews hoisted the horse out of the water and onto firm ground at 6:48 p.m. 

According to the vetinarian, the horse appeared uninjured but would be monitored for stress-related issues for the next 24 hours.