June 20, 2007

Firefighters Flush Cat From Storm Drain:

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.

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