Firefighters wrap up May with unusual rescues

 In Fire News, Headlines

Some might say that several out-of-the-ordinary calls for rescues Atchison Firefighters responded to during the month of May mostly resulted in “purr-fect” outcomes.

Chief Patrick Weishaar, Atchison Fire Department, reported three of these rescues involved cats that were not the “cat in the tree” like firefighters normally respond to. The latest of these occurred Tuesday, May 30, at about 4:30 p.m. at the AFD station located at 218 N. Sixth St.

Weishaar said a man notified firefighters about a stray kitten that had gotten its head stuck in one of the spoke holes of an old vehicle wheel. The man brought the wheel with a kitten in distress to the station where firefighters managed to free it with some lubricant. The man told firefighters he did not own the kitten nor did he know where it came from.

Weishaar said the firefighters took the kitten out to the Humane Society of Atchison where it will be put up for adoption.

On or about Wednesday, May 10, firefighters responded to a call concerning several kittens in the storm drain in front of Fox Theater, at 612 Commercial St., Weishaar reported. He said after crews arrived on the scene they removed a manhole cover and saw several kittens at the bottom of the hole.

Firefighters managed to successfully retrieve all the kittens and left them in the care of the reporting party.

The rash of unusual calls began at about 7 a.m. on Monday, May 8, when AFD received an alert that centered on a citizen’s report about an unoccupied watercraft afloat downstream in the Missouri River.

Weishaar said an Atchison police officer managed to secure the boat when it floated closer to the bank underneath the Amelia Earhart Memorial Bridge. Firefighters launched the AFD’s boat and were able to tow the unoccupied boat to the ramp where a local tow company hauled it off.

Weishaar said the police determined the floated downstream from Buchanan County, Missouri.

Weishaar said it was later the day when AFD crews were paged out to 1027 North Seventh Street where a house had recently been demolished. An abandoned well was uncovered during the demolition process.

Weishaar said apparently before the hole was filled in a puppy fell into the well. After the AFD crew arrived they were able to make their way down into the well and retrieve the pup in an injured condition. The puppy was returned to its owner.

“Animal rescue type calls are not that uncommon but recently we’ve tried to be more diligent in rescuing and/or retrieving them,” Weishaar said. “We receive between five to 10 calls annually for a cat stuck in a tree, which are the hardest types of rescues due to the location of the tree and normally when we try to retrieve them, cats usually clime even higher making it impossible in some cases.” Then AFD will usually reach out to other sources, Weishaar said.

About once or twice a year there are rescues that concern animals stranded in storm drains, Weishaar said. Those types of calls are normally simpler because the responders can lower themselves into the confined space and the animals are unable to escape.

Added within the past few years is a breathing device used to resuscitate animals that are overcome with smoke from structure fires, Weishaar said. During housefires, pets usually hide and easily become overcome with smoke. Both AFD and Atchison County EMS carry the resuscitating devices in their vehicles.

“Pets have become a large part of society and our citizens consider them as part of their family and we are happy to make this part of our service,” Weishaar said.