Dunaway cat

Bolivar firefighter Caleb Dunaway holds Oreo, a cat he rescued out of a tree Friday, June 7.

The Bolivar City Fire Department performed purr-fect rescues last weekend. 

After being dispatched for a technical rescue call on West Summit Street Friday, June 7, fire crews arrived at the scene to find a cat named Oreo stuck on a tree branch 20 feet in the air, said B-shift Capt. Dustin McHaffie.  

According to Oreo’s owners, he had been stuck in the tree for two days and hadn’t come down, McHaffie said.

Firefighter Caleb Dunaway climbed the ladder to retrieve Oreo, and other firefighters assisted in the rescue. 

McHaffie described the task as “a little more dangerous” than most animal rescues due to the dark of night.

Oreo was brought back to the ground safely “within five minutes of our crews arriving on scene,” McHaffie said.

Friday night wasn’t the only time a cat was in need of rescue. Another cat was reported to be in a tree the next day, and firefighters were on the scene once again.

This time the tree was on North Wilson Avenue, the cat more than 30 feet in the air. The cat was so high up the department had to use their aerial ladder truck, McHaffie said.

After carefully positioning the ladder, firefighter McKenna Clift was able to successfully climb the ladder and rescue the feline, McHaffie said.  

Bolivar firefighters are not typically trained to rescue cats from trees, but their extensive ladder training allows them to complete rescues such as these. 

“We try and treat all rescues the same, whether animal or human, and complete them as safely as possible for them and us,” McHaffie said.

McHaffie also noted how simple rescues like these can prepare fire crews for more dangerous calls in the future.

“These simple animal calls help my crews hone their skills for when it’s needed to save a human or animal life,” McHaffie said. 

Animal rescues like these show the range of problems a fire department is prepared to help with.

“From water issues in homes to hot water heater problems to electrical issues, there’s usually a firefighter that can mitigate the problem or at least point you in the right direction,” McHaffie said. “This type of service ties into what a full service fire department gives the community it serves.

“If the fire department can help, they’ll help. If they can’t, they’ll contact someone who can.” 

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