Volunteers and firefighters with the West Side Volunteer Fire Department rescued a kitten from a drain pipe as rain fell and water was rising Monday, August 10, 2015, in St. Albans, West Virginia.
Residents called 911 after hearing kittens crying in the pipe, which was backing up with water as rainstorms rolled through the area. Three kittens were trapped by the rising waters; one was whisked to safety by its mother, while a second drowned.
Dorella Tuckwiller, president and founder of local animal rescue group Itty Bitty Kitty Committee frantically posted to their Facebook page to ask for help, and a handful of volunteers rushed to the scene.
A West Side Volunteer Fire Department crew arrived about 40 minutes into the rescue effort, and firefighters quickly devised a plan to dam the roadside ditch and pump water out of the ditch.
The water began slowly receding once firefighters turned the pump on. Wileman tied a rope to Tuckwiller’s ankle, and once there was enough of an air bubble inside the pipe, she laid on her back and pushed herself into the filthy pipe. Moments later, Tuckwiller grabbed the kitten and was pulled to safety.
Dorella Tuckwiller crawled head-first into a storm drain pipe beneath a Virginia Avenue driveway and retrieved the barely breathing kitten.
A small crowd cheered as West Side volunteer firefighter Galeena Wileman pulled Tuckwiller from the pipe by a rope tied to her ankle and Tuckwiller held the wet, shivering creature in her hand.
Tuckwiller shared an emotional moment with the shivering kitten, kissing it on the forehead before handing it off to firefighters for first aid.
Wileman whisked the kitten to her vehicle and gave it oxygen using a tiny oxygen mask.
The kitten was named Stormy. Though the kitten is expected to live, Tuckwiller said the situation likely would have ended tragically without the efforts and ingenuity of volunteers and the firefighters. “Everybody who came together has been amazing, if the fire department hadn’t been pumping the water out, I don’t think there would have been enough space in there to get to him. Every single person standing right here who shared what I posted, who responded, everyone is a hero. It takes a little army to save one little life.”
Stormy’s eyes were swollen, but they were treated with eye ointment.
Stormy eats well and has spent most of the day resting. She’s not showing signs of having any infection and her eyes are starting to look better. It is the first day that she actually play. She loves her little mouse.
Stormy is eating well and is full of energy. She is currently residing with a wonderful foster family and is in the best of hands. Share this story, and help Stormy find a loving home.