PARKERSBURG, West Virginia - It took two fire trucks, five firefighters, several animal rescuers and about 250 gallons of water to rescue a kitten that refused to come out of a West Virginia storm sewer drain.
Animal control officers tried coaxing the gray tabby with encouraging words and food Monday afternoon before giving up after about an hour and a half.
Parkersburg firefighters tried banging tools on one end of the pipe and flashing lights Monday night near the Parkersburg-Belpre Bridge in hopes of driving him out the other end, but that failed.
Only when firefighters flushed about 250 gallons of water_ enough to wet the kitten's paws — through the pipe that the feline rushed into the hands of Firefighter Kevin Siers, who was standing inside a manhole.
"We had about an hour and a half of fun," Siers said Tuesday. "Everybody was pretty tickled" when the cat emerged.
After a very frightening day and night, the kitten seemed more relaxed on Tuesday and was warming up to humans, said Dan Hendrickson with the Humane Society of Parkersburg. A visitor to the shelter was signing adoption papers Tuesday afternoon.
Siers and state Fire Marshal Sterling Lewis said it is not uncommon for fire departments to attempt such rescues.
Firefighters have rescued iguanas off of telephone poles, snakes out of sewer pipes and cats out of trees, Siers said.
"Firefighters will go try to save anything," Lewis said.
______________________________________________Story 2 - Firefighters resuscitate cats, rat
POCATELLO, Idaho - Firefighters resuscitated four cats and an albino rat from a charred apartment in this southeastern Idaho city. The animals received oxygen after the Monday blaze through a special mask designed for small animals. The Pocatello Fire Department bought it two years ago.
Fire officials say electrical failure likely caused the fire, which resulted in at least $10,000 in damage. No people were injured.
Firefighter Kirby Jonas, who whisked the rat to safety, said he was astonished anything survived the flames that engulfed the apartment. He found the rat huddled in blackened bedding.
"If I were betting money, I would have put down $10,000 that anything in that cage was dead," Jonas said Monday, adding that before he exited the apartment, he did notice something on a wall in the room: A poster of an albino rat with a halo over its head.
One cat didn't survive the blaze.
Information from: Idaho State Journal, http://www.journalnet.com