Police rescue man, dog when snow fort collapses

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Police officers saved a dad and his dog after they were buried and trapped in a collapsed snow fort on Sunday in northeastern Minnesota.

WDIO reported the incident happened in Hermantown, near the city of Duluth. Police there responded to a home after the man's young son called 911. The Duluth News Tribune said the man, who in his 30s, was inside a snow tunnel when it collapsed. His dog was also trapped.

The newspaper said that the man was lying face-down and his upper body was covered with one to two feet of snow when two Hemantown officers arrived. “The man was able to communicate with us but I could tell his breathing was restricted from the weight of the snow on him,” Sgt. William Marsolek said.

Police pulled him out into a kneeling position and extricated the dog when there was another collapse of snow that trapped the man and the dog. Marsolek said he and another officer pulled the man out again and the dog also managed to escape the collapse. He explained that the deep snow beneath the tunnel may have contributed to the man getting stuck; there was no solid surface he could push against to counter the weight of the snow above him.

Although an ambulance was called to the home, the man was not transported. Marsolek gave credit to the man’s composure and his son’s call to 911 for averting what could have been a threatening situation. He said the incident should serve as a reminder to others to appreciate the potential for danger with forts that tunnel through deep snow.

A Hermantown teen has gotten media coverage for his quest to sleep outside for a year. Rudy Hummel, 17, began his al fresco slumber on June 7. He has bundled up against the cold even when temperatures in the area dropped as low as 30 degrees below zero, sleeping in a snow house that he learned how to build in Boy Scouts. When his SnoreOutdoors blog was last updated on January 17, he had slept outdoors for 244 consecutive nights.

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