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Firefighter, police rescue crash victim from frozen pond in Plainfield

By Greg Smith

Publication: theday.com

Published February 04. 2014 9:00PM   Updated February 04. 2014 11:10PM

Plainfield — A firefighter and active member of the U.S. Navy joined two Plainfield police officers on Tuesday to rescue a man whose car flipped over in a crash and landed upside-down in a pond.

The crash occurred at 3:46 p.m. on Moosup Pond Road, where a vehicle driven by 50-year-old Alexander Filteau struck a guardrail and went airborne, landing in the frozen body of water submerged up to its wheel wells, police said.

Moosup Fire Lt. Richard Okrasinski happened to be in the area and drove to the scene when he heard the call, according to Plainfield Fire Marshal Paul Yellen, who is deputy chief of the Moosup Fire Department.

Okrasinski is a rescue diver for the department and master chief in the U.S. Navy. Yellen said that after calling in to dispatch, Okrasinski stripped off his coat and jumped in the chest-deep frigid water.

Okrasinski was joined by Plainfield police officers Craig Arruda and William Wolfburg and the three were able to open the door by shattering the window with a sledge hammer and pull Filteau out of the vehicle.

Okrasinski currently works at the Submarine Technical Support Center in Groton, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Filteau was able to breathe in the vehicle because of a 5-inch pocket of air inside, police said. He was taken to the Plainfield Backus Care Facility for treatment and was listed in stable condition Tuesday evening.

Okrasinski was treated for hypothermia and cuts and abrasions, police said.

The accident remains under investigation.

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