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Firefighter rappels down waterfall to rescue stray dog

A Paterson city firefighter rappelled down the Great Falls on Sunday to save a wayward dog, drawing the admiration of excited spectators who included the city’s mayor.

“Paterson” the dog. (Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge)

The dog, whom Mayor Andre Sayegh said has now been named Paterson, showed “really no signs of aggression” when Fire Capt. Scott Parkin finally approached.

“My main concern was just getting down safely, okay,” Parkin told Sayegh in a live video streamed over the mayor’s Facebook page Sunday. “I really wasn’t worried about the ascent, because I knew all our equipment that my crew, Rescue 2, had set up prior to me going over the edge was rock solid.”

After earning the dog’s trust with food, Parkin said, he was able to lure the pit bull mix close enough to place a net over the dog, allowing him to be lifted to safety.

As to how the dog found himself at the base of the falls? “That, I have no idea,” the firefighter said.

“Paterson” was taken to Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge in Oakland, which said on Facebook that the dog appeared to be in stable condition.

The canine rescue is the second by a member of the firefighter’s family.

“Nineteen-seventy-five, my father did the same type of rescue for a dog, right in the same area here,” Parkin said. “So, I’m kind of repeating family history, which is kind of cool.”

The fire captain did not immediately respond to a Facebook message from an NJ Advance Media reporter seeking comment Sunday evening, and an attempt to reach officials at the Paterson Fire Department also was not immediately successful.

Alexis Johnson contributed to this report.

Thomas Moriarty may be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @ThomasDMoriarty. Find on Facebook.

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