Body on ice of St. John River in Fredericton turns out to be just clothing

·2 min read
Members of the Fredericton Fire Department deployed a rescue team after receiving a report someone fell through the ice of the St. John River. It turned out to be clothing arranged to look like a person, said acting platoon Capt. Barry Durling. (Submitted by Barry Durling - image credit)
Members of the Fredericton Fire Department deployed a rescue team after receiving a report someone fell through the ice of the St. John River. It turned out to be clothing arranged to look like a person, said acting platoon Capt. Barry Durling. (Submitted by Barry Durling - image credit)

The Fredericton Fire Department says it responded to a call of someone falling through the ice in the St. John River near Devon, only to find out it was actually a set of clothes that had been arranged to look like a body.

Firefighters responded to the call at 7:20 a.m., said acting platoon Capt. Barry Durling. He said a person was spotted on the ice and three crews dressed in full ice rescue gear launched a boat from Devonshire Drive to carry out the rescue.

"Upon arrival on the river, they deemed that it was articles of clothing placed in such a way that it would mimic an individual," Durling said.

Firefighters shortly thereafter received a call that a brush fire had been set along a fence in the 700 block of Union Street, and that a man was leaving the area and attempting to cross the St. John River.

The male crossed underneath the Westmorland Street Bridge and moved on to Sainte Anne's Point Drive, where he was met by fire crews and police. The man was taken into custody.

Durling said the entire sequence of events lasted about two hours and no one was injured.

Are the incidents connected?

Asked if all three incidents were connected, Durling said he can't say for sure, "But you know, I would think so."

"It's a hard one to describe to you because normally ... there's a fire here and that's how it all shook down, but this one was a little bit strange," he said.

The Fredericton Police Force has not responded to questions about what happened.

Durling couldn't comment on whether it's illegal to cross on the ice of the St. John River, but said it's not a good idea as all ice is unsafe, especially in this location.

"With Mactaquac Dam not far away, the currents are quite strong and the water levels raise and lower periodically throughout the day, so the ice is very unstable," he said.