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Vidalia Firemen to the Rescue

To Chief Brian Sikes Vidalia Fire Department

I wanted to take this opportunity by writing to tell you how proud I am to know that Vidalia has a team of firemen who would go to the trouble of saving a kitten’s life.

In May of this year, I was working behind Lowes in Vidalia when I noticed a mama cat sitting on the curb staring down a storm drain, and could hear the faint mewing of a kitten. I walked over and saw a single kitten, identical in fur pattern to the mother, sitting some 9 feet down the storm drain opening. I was concerned that it had been raining heavily earlier that day, which might continue and wash the kitten away.

In desperation, I called the Vidalia Fire Department, and asked the fireman who answered if they knew anyone who could help me rescue a kitten from a storm drain. Rather nonchalantly, the fireman answered, “Sure, we can help. We do that all the time,” and asked for directions. I was expecting maybe one or two men to arrive in a pickup truck, so imagine my surprise when two firemen arrived in a fire truck. My surprise quickly turned into being mortified when a second fire truck arrived with four additional firemen. I was embarrassed that my call would generate such a response and involve so many men and so much equipment. Particularly, since people began to come out of neighboring businesses to see what all the fire trucks were about.

The two firemen in the first fire truck said they had called their captain to tell him where they were going, and he told them that his crew wanted to come, too. A Captain Phelps reassured me that I shouldn’t be embarrassed for having called them, for rescue was their job, and this action was great practice for them. He said they had just the day before received a call from an elementary school where small kids had discovered a turtle down a storm drain, and they had gone to rescue it, and it was now in an aquarium in the students’ classroom.

With the mama cat watching intently, Captain Phelps and crew removed the storm drain grate and climbed down to the bottom, where the frightened kitten retreated some 40 feet down a narrow pipe leading to another storm drain. Another crew of firemen climbed down this second drain, and using pressurized water in continued from page

a fire extinguisher, sprayed and ran the frightened kitten toward Captain Phelps, who caught the kitten and brought her up.

We were able to rescue the mama cat as well, and I took both to the vet. The mama has been spayed and vaccinated and is now living in my yard, while the kitten is being kept in my house until she is big enough to take care of herself.

I have taken the liberty of naming the kitten “Stormy,” and she is doing remarkably well. You might can tell from her photo that the vet diagnosed her with a severely bruised left eye socket, probably due to falling nine feet, but fortunately the eye was not injured and the swelling around the eye has since gone down considerably.

Stormy climbs and chases and tussles with other cats in my yard, who are considerably larger than her, and she is enjoying life.

I just wanted you to know how grateful I am for the efforts of Captain Phelps and his crew of firemen.

Andrew M. (Andy) Thompson Vidalia, GA

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