Fire Department warns about thin ice on Oneida Lake

The Bridgeport Fire Department is alerting people not to go onto the ice with large machines.

Temperatures will be higher than normal tomorrow. That means the ice in Oneida Lake will be a little bit slimmer. In order for it to be safe for people to bring heavy machines out onto the ice, there should be at least 8 inches of ice under their feet. That includes snowmobiles, ice fishing equipment and trucks.

The Bridgeport Fire Department is ready for any accident to occur as they have training courses to brush on their ice rescue skills. They have put them into practice recently due to some recent accident on the lake.

Albert Merola was walking his dog last winter in February when the ice gave way. "It's enough that you lose composure. I mean you need to stay calm and wait for help. I mean really that's what you're hoping for. You're not coming out alone," says Merola.

Frank Thompson is the Fire Chief with the Bridgeport Fire Department. "The ice is not safe, just because of the warm temperatures," says Thompson. "You see snowmobilers out there, they're crazy and they're just risking their own lives."

Assistant Fire Chief Scott Griffith has some tips on how to not go under. "They need to stay away from any of the waterways that dump into the lake, they're the weakest part of the lake and they don't ever freeze," says Griffith. "Two years ago we had to pull a snowmobiler out of the ice, they got too close to it and went in the water."

When temperatures are as high as they will be tomorrow, the ice can be as slim as four inches. If you choose to go out on the lake during this brief thaw, rescuers say don't do it alone.