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Dog hears cries for help and man is rescued after falling through ice on Stoneham pond

Two passerby were able to use a branch to help pull the man out of the water after he fell through the ice covering Quarter Mile Pond.
Two passerby were able to use a branch to help pull the man out of the water after he fell through the ice covering Quarter Mile Pond.Matthew Grafton

A 22-year-old Malden man was rescued after he broke through ice covering Quarter Mile Pond in Stoneham while riding his bike across Wednesday afternoon, fire officials said.

Stoneham fire responded to the incident at approximately 1:45 p.m., Fire Chief Matthew Graftonsaid in a statement. When first responders arrived at the scene along with two divers and an ice sled they discovered two passerby in the area had pulled the man ashore using a tree branch.

The man fell through the ice covered pond after trying to ride his bicycle across it, Grafton said. He was biking diagonally across the pond and made it about 100 feet away from shore before the ice broke and he fell in. He was able to pull himself out of the hole and crawl towards the shore.

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One of the passerby, Thomas Walsh, was walking in the area with his five-year-old German Shepherd, Diesel, who heard the man crying out for help and alerted Walsh. Walsh and another man were able to extend the branch out onto the ice.

Diesel was “the hero,” Grafton said, as had he not alerted Walsh the man may not have been found.

“I don’t know if anyone would’ve spotted him,” Grafton said.

Thomas Walsh and his dog, Diesel, were able to assist the man after he fell through the ice on Quarter Mile Pond.
Thomas Walsh and his dog, Diesel, were able to assist the man after he fell through the ice on Quarter Mile Pond.Courtesy of Stoneham Fire

Grafton said the man told first responders he believed he had been in the water for 15 minutes before being rescued, though Grafton said he suspected it was actually less than 15 minutes as the man “would’ve been worse off” had he been in the ice for that long.

Initial reports placed the man in various locations near the pond, which Grafton said complicated first responders efforts to find him.

Grafton emphasized that especially as temperatures continue to warm it is not safe for residents to venture out on to ice.

“The only safe ice is at the Stoneham arena,” he said.

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The man likely “just made a bad decision,” Grafton said.

Charlie McKenna can be reached at charlie.mckenna@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @charliemckenna9.