The Cool, Lovely, Dangerous Boise River


With temperatures in the 90s again this weekend, hundreds will take to the Boise river to escape the heat, but very few will not have the events of Aug. 1 far from their thoughts.

"It shook us all up," Boise Fire Batallion Chief Jim Gross told Citydesk. "To be perfectly honest, when there's a death, we consider it a failure."

Gross and his Dive Rescue Team took to the river the afternoon of Friday, Aug. 6, to train at the Quinn's Pond diversion, the scene where a Garden City woman was caught in the turbulent water while rafting earlier in the week. It's believed Cassie Ray Conley was under the water for several minutes. She suffered severe head injuries and died Aug.4.

"Minutes are precious when the water is this swift," said Gross. "This is clearly the most treacherous part of the Boise River. Unfortunately, this section is becoming more popular because it's less restricted."

There are 30 members of the Boise Fire Department Dive Rescue team. They work in three, 10-person shifts. Friday they teamed up with other members of Boise's Fire Department to refine their river rescue skills.


"It's Reach, throw, row, go," Gross told Citydesk. "We always train our crew to try to reach the victim first. Next, we try to throw a rope or preserver. If that isn't successful, we'll row out to the victim and our last step is to go right into the water for rescue."
Dive Rescue Team Practices With Dummy in Boise River
  • Dive Rescue Team Practices With Dummy in Boise River

The Boise Dive Rescue Team has been dispatched three times in the past two weeks to the Thurman Mill diversion dam. They, and Ada County Sheriff's Office will be fully staffed again this weekend, keeping a close eye on the scores of rafters expected to take to the cool, swift current of the Boise River.