Oaklyn Fire Chief Scott Cairns says the Shar-Pei, named Lilly, was successfully reunited with her owners shortly after the incident

By Saryn Chorney
January 02, 2018 02:43 PM
Credit: Oaklyn Fire Department

A real hero’s work is never done. Such is the case of the Oaklyn Fire Department in New Jersey, whose Station 18 crew was dispatched on Dec. 30 to extinguish a fire threatening a chicken coop reports NJPen.com, and then immediately switched gears to answer a call about rescuing a dog trapped about 150 feet out on a frozen lake.

“As far as the rescue goes, we had just cleared the scene of a garage fire with an attached chicken coop and were at the station cleaning equipment when we were dispatched to the report of an animal rescue,” Oaklyn Fire Chief Scott Cairns wrote in an email to PEOPLE.

Credit: Oaklyn Fire Department

“Shortly after responding, the assignment was upgraded to an ice rescue as it was reported to be a dog that had fallen through the ice on our local lake called Newton Creek.”

The lost dog, an exotic Shar-Pei named Lilly, was seen wandering by the creek and residents then saw her break through the ice.

Credit: Oaklyn Fire Department

“I arrived on location and met with the witnesses … in the backyard of a residence on Kendall Blvd,” Cairns tells PEOPLE. “They informed they had observed the dog running on the ice when it suddenly broke and the dog fell into the water. I observed the dog was currently treading water to stay afloat and seemed to be getting weaker, most likely due to the cold water temperature. I then advised our responding personnel to don their ice rescue suits and prepare to go out onto the lake.”

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Credit: Oaklyn Fire Department

According to NJPen.com, the team was responding to its 300th call of the year, making the life-saving canine rescue a landmark event, which help set a record for the small town.

Credit: Oaklyn Fire Department

“Our units arrived on scene and Battalion Chief Greg Grudzinski and Captain Fred Bartling were tethered off to a safety line and deployed our ice rescue sled,” Fire Chief Scott Cairn tells PEOPLE. “They pulled themselves out to the dog and were able to pull her up onto the sled. We then pulled the safety line and towed them to shore where the dog was placed into warm blankets and towels by the EMS crew.”

The Oaklyn Fire Department posted photos of the rescue to Facebook, and the story of their heroics went viral over the holiday weekend.

Credit: Oaklyn Fire Department

“The dog was successfully reunited with her owner shortly after the incident,” says Cairns. “From what we have heard, she seems to be doing very well.”