MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A toddler in Stearns County is alive after a quick-acting rescue Monday on his family’s farm.

Less than a week shy of his second birthday, Carter Douvier disappeared from his parents’ side while Amanda and Jason Douvier were doing chores on their farm in Farming Township.

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“It’s a feeling you don’t ever want to have,” Amanda said.

Jason says he’s never been that scared before. The couple quickly spotted the boy in their pit of liquid manure. Carter was a few feet out from the steep ramp leading to the pit, with an arm and a leg submerged under the crusty surface.

“It’s worse than thin ice,” Jason said. “You could see his little footprints that he walked across before he fell in.”

Firefighters and sheriff’s deputies arrived to pull Carter out, as the boy cried in fear and slowly got sucked under. Albany Fire Department Chief Gary Winkels was among the first responders.

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“We had a firefighter rappel down the wall and reach out there and grab the kid,” Winkels said.

Amanda couldn’t hold back her own tears Tuesday as she recalled the relief she felt after the rescue.

“We’re just lucky they were there helping him, and we got to him in time,” she said.

Jason immediately covered the gate to the pit with plywood, because Carter was able to get through by wriggling himself under it. Jason also plans to put barbed wire at the top of it.

“Parents did everything right,” Winkels said. “It was fenced in. Kids are fast, they’re very fast.”

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The Albany Fire Department is working on a “Farm Safety Day” for this fall with eight other local departments.

David Schuman