by Warren Dillaway, Star Beacon

ASHTABULA — Area fire departments are working on their ice rescue skills as the U.S. Coast Guard Ashtabula Station has been merged with the Fairport Station and water rescue efforts during the winter will be handled from Fairport, according to area fire chiefs and the Coast Guard.

Fire departments along Lake Erie will be the first line of defense for water rescue events during the winter months, said Ashtabula Fire Chief Shawn Gruber.

The announcement of the potential “seasonalization” of Station Ashtabula was announced in the spring of 2016.

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