A 12-year-old boy found himself waist-deep in trouble after he got trapped in a mud pit behind the Sand Hill Park swimming pool in Essex last week.
It took a team of 14 Essex Fire Department members about 45 minutes to finally free the preteen, Chief Charles Cole told Seven Days.
The boy, his younger brother and a couple of other kids were out playing July 5 in the wooded area — Cole described it as a ravine — when the 12-year-old realized he couldn't get out.
"With all of the leaves and sticks and brush that's there, you wouldn't think it's that much of a quagmire," Cole said. "But he stepped in it, and that was it."
The kids debated whether to call 911, eventually resorting to a game of rock, paper, scissors, according to Cole.
Fortunately, the "call 911" team won.
"I'm very thankful they did," Cole said. "This young fella was not going to get out without some help."
Police, Essex Rescue and the fire department arrived and started digging by hand and with shovels — and even tried pure "brute force" — but made little headway, Cole said. The FD eventually unraveled a fire hose, stuck it into the mud next to the boy and turned it on full blast. The water diluted the mud and once the boy could wiggle his legs a bit, the rescuers were able to pull him clear.
"If they weren't covered in mud, they were in the mud," Cole said of his rescue team.
Cole said the area normally would be "bone dry" this time of year, but torrential rain turned it into a soupy pit. He encouraged people to steer clear of "mud holes" and other wet spots that have turned to muck.