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Firefighters rescue deer stuck on ice

Wednesday, January 24, 2024 - During last week's winter storm, the McKey Fire Department sprang into action after receiving a call of a helpless animal stuck on frozen water near Sallisaw Creek Site 33 Reservoir on Highway 59.

Sequoyah County resident Taylor Taylor initiated the call after she and her mother-in-law were outside playing with their dogs enjoying the biggest snowfall of the year. As the pair headed back indoors to warm up, something in the distance caught Taylor’s eye.

“I noticed what appeared to be a small animal in distress stuck on the frozen water. Initially, I thought it was a dog or coyote, but after grabbing my binoculars, I realized it was a young white-tailed doe struggling to stay on her feet,” Taylor stated.

Taylor immediately began contacting multiple agencies in hopes of finding someone to help but was without luck. Taylor said, “That’s when my husband Gabe, brother-in-law, Jet, and myself started to devise a game plan to take a scamp boat out to try and break the ice to give her a path to swim out safely.”

Their plan seemed risky, especially with the current weather conditions, so Taylor made one last attempt to find help and called Devin Guthrie with the McKey Fire and Rescue team.

Taylor said, “Guthrie asked what was going on and without hesitation told me he would be there with a crew in 45 minutes to help.”

Just like Guthrie had promised, he and his crew, which included Garrett Fargo and Aaron Stewart, were on the scene 40 minutes later. In the 9-degree weather and shin-deep water, the trio began to unload their boat in an attempt to bring the helpless doe back to dry ground.  

“She was a little scared of the boat at first, but as the crew grew closer, Stewart reached out for her, and she crawled to him, accepting the help. I think she knew they were there to save her,” Taylor added.

Stewart and Fargo loaded the young deer into the boat as Guthrie headed back to dry land, where the team was able to release her safely.

Taylor and her husband watched the rescue unfold from the safety of the bank while capturing images of the scene.


The efforts displayed by the McKey Fire and Rescue team underscore the critical role their team plays in ensuring the safety and welfare of all living beings during challenging circumstances.  

(left to right) Aaron Stewart, Garrett Fargo and Devin Guthrie

Taylor stated, “This just goes to show that not all heroes wear capes, in this case, they wear Carhartt’s.”

Lindsie Dyer, KXMX Staff Writer

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