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MD Firefighters Are A Pet's Best Friend

MD Firefighters Are A Pet's Best Friend

A kitten rescued from inside of a discarded HVAC unit checks out Steve Stearns with the county citizens unit. (Photo courtesy of Prince George's County Fire and EMS).

June 13, 2011

WASHINGTON – Three furry felines are alive and purring thanks to rescue efforts by firefighters in Prince George’s County this week.

PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY – Prince George’s County Fire and EMS spokesman Mark Brady says “The rescue of pets and animals in unusual and compromising situations is based on the the level of difficulty and safety of firefighter rescuers.”

He adds that the safety of residents is also taken into consideration because if firefighters opt not to attempt a rescue, well-intentioned bystanders will attempt a rescue and quite possibly become victims themselves.

The first rescue occurred on the evening of June 7, when firefighters responded to a 2-alarm fire in the 5400 block of 85th Avenue in New Carrollton. After the fire, during salvage and overhaul, firefighters found a kitten gasping for air, inside the smoke and heat-filled apartment. The kitten was turned over to Bill McNeel with the county citizens unit. The kitten’s health improved dramatically once it was taken outside into fresh air. It was soon reunited with its owners.

The second rescue occurred Saturday afternoon when volunteer firefighters from Bladensburg were dispatched to a report of a cat trapped in a storm drain and crying loudly. The firefighters arrived in the 4900 block of Annapolis Road where they found the crying kitten trapped about five feet below the street inside a storm drain. The young kitten did not respond to rescue attempts and cowered deeper into the storm drain. Firefighters were on the scene for a little more than an hour to retrieve the malnourished kitten.

Firefighters took the kitten back to the fire station and cleaned and fed the kitten. Animal Control officers eventually took control of the kitten to tend to her medical needs.

The third rescue also occurred Saturday just before 2 p.m. when Bowie Animal Control officers called firefighters to the 1700 block of Pittsfield Lane. Area residents had called officials after hearing a cat crying from inside of a discarded heating and air conditioner unit (HVAC). The old unit was located in the back yard of a residence.

A small kitten had made it’s way into the HVAC several days earlier and could not get out or did not want to come out. The kitten cried loudly enough on Saturday that concerned members of the community contacted animal control officials.

Firefighter/medics from the Pointer Ridge Fire/EMS Station #843 and Steve Stearns, a representative of the county citizen cervices unit arrived responded. After not hearing any sounds, firefighters decided to dismantle the HVAC unit. They found a deceased female cat and the kitten, which appeared to be just weeks old.

One of the firefighters that helped in the rescue has requested to adopt the male kitten after animal control attends to the medical needs of the cat. The firefighter says she will name the small kitten after a newborn child that she delivered Sunday morning.

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