“They didn’t have to help, but they did – and that’s why I think they’re so awesome,” wrote Liz Masi, a resident of Lakeview Summit. “I would like to give a special shout out to Rockwall Fire Station 3. Two of their finest helped save my cat! Thanks to Charles Smith and Bruce Winkleman. They fight fires and keep us safe, but they also have big hearts and care about the small things too!”
Liz penned a thank you letter to the fire department and said that she regretted not having written it sooner. She explained that back in January, her family’s cat Ben disappeared from their front yard.
“He never goes far, but if he does leave the yard, he comes running when I call him,” she explained. “I had driven the neighborhood and called his name for hours. Nothing! Finally, I began to yell in the sewers because I know that ‘stray cats’ sometimes go down there, and Ben is a very curious boy!”
Immediately, Liz could hear faint cries from Ben, but because of the echo, she could not identify with which sewer he was in.
“I kept going from each sewer location and could not figure out why Ben would not come to me. Knowing him the way I do, I knew he was either hurt or very confused, otherwise he would have come to me and would have jumped in my arms,” she said.
Friends and family members tried to console her, saying, “He got in there; he will get out” – but Liz says she knew help was needed. A neighbor said it would not hurt to call the fire department, so she did.
According to Liz, the firefighters arrived immediately and we’re preparing to enter the sewer lid opening when they realized the opening was too small.
“Meanwhile, Ben is still crying. Although we could hear him, we could not get a visual. We all three kept calling him and finally spotted him, deep in the main sewer of the neighborhood. The depth of this sewer was approximately 20-25 feet deep, straight down. Ben was pacing and looking up at us crying. He did not appear to be hurt, but clearly wanted us to help him out!”
Liz reports that the firefighters then sought the advice of the sewer/sanitation department, who came to offer assistance.
“The firefighters took their longest ladder from their truck and tried to put it inside the man hole. We quickly realized the hole was not wide enough. We began to share thoughts of lowering a basket or something down there, in hopes Ben would jump in and we could lift him up to safety. For most cats, this would be nearly impossible, but I know with my Ben, it might work. They sent me to my garage for rope and a basket. I happen to be in animal rescue, and I realized that I had a trap in my garage. I also found a huge roll of anchor rope for a boat as well.
I come running down the hill, excited about the items that I had found, and I’m certain these sweet men were convinced that I was crazy! For those that are not familiar with a trap, ideally you put food in the trap, the cat steps on a pedal and the door trap closes. Ben is very food motivated so we figured it was worth a try!
So, they tied the rope on the trap (with a can of Friskies wet food inside) and lowered the trap. Ben circled the trap crying, and we watched and waited patiently. Alas, Ben walked into the trap and began to eat! Gently, but swiftly they lifted the trap up, slightly tilted, so Ben would not fall out.
It worked! Ben was safely back in my arms!! Crying tears of happiness, I hugged the fire fighters! They did it!”
Liz added, “Firefighters are highly trained and geared for extreme emergency situations, but this is a wonderful example of how human they are. They care, they love, and they will try to help in every way they can!”
Liz expresses her appreciation for the firefighters, the sanitation officer, and also to the dispatcher who initiated the rescue call. “Rockwall should be extremely proud to have such fine gentlemen and women on their rescue team and representing our beautiful city and home!” she said.
By Dawn Redig, Blue Ribbon News.
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