Sunday, November 20, 2005
He's been missing for two weeks. And even though he was found floating face down in a sulfur spring Saturday, officials are breathing a sigh of relief.
Rescue Randy, West Routt's life-size fire-training doll, soon will be back in the hands of the people who need him most: firefighters.
A firefighter discovered that Randy was missing on Nov. 7. West Routt Fire Protection District Chief Bryan Rickman said Randy likely was stolen from the district's training facility on Routt County Road 53 in Hayden.
Firefighters use Randy for routine training with live fires. Most recently, he was acting as a training tool for a worldwide competition in Florida.
Randy's real, non-training rescue event began at about noon Sunday, when a 911 caller told dispatchers he saw a black male floating in the pond just west of 13th Street and Lincoln Avenue.
Officer Kurtis Luster said he wasn't sure what to expect when he arrived at the pond.
The call of a possible submersion "scared us a little," Luster said.
When officers couldn't find anyone in the pond, they started combing the area -- only to spot a 6-foot-1-inch, 155-pound mannequin face down in the sulfur spring along the Yampa River Core Trail.
Officers Luster and Gerald Geis pulled Randy out of the pool, placed him in the snow and waited for backup. Randy appeared to have black smudges on his "skin," and one arm was bent behind his back. No officer or deputy spoke about Randy's condition, but Luster wondered about his garb.
"Are these the clothes he was wearing before?" he asked. Randy had on dark, stylish jeans and a belt around his metallic-colored waist.
Sheriff's deputies Rob Smith and Tom Munden arrived at the scene, and they helped the officers haul Randy onto the parking lot and into a sheriff's patrol SUV, where he took up the entire back seat.
The deputies were not sure where Randy would go next. It's possible, they said, that he would be entered into evidence as stolen property.
If you have information about Randy's whereabouts during the past two weeks, call the Sheriff's Office at 870-5504.