Suit of Soot, Courtesy of the Cat

Billy Stewart,
Calgary, AB

I was a rookie at my third rookie hall when we got a call for an animal rescue. We get into the engine and the captain reads his notes. He tells us it's a cat in a fireplace!

When we get to the residence, it turns out the cat is stuck in the chimney! The homeowners tell us their dog was outside going crazy. They opened their door and saw a stray cat cornered by the dog. They call the dog which gave the cat a moment to run past the dog and into the house!

The dog chased it and the cat ran around the living room with the dog in hot pursuit. The dog chased the cat into the fireplace. The cat had enough momentum to run up the flue where it bumped open and got past the damper. The damper closed behind it. Now they had a wailing cat in their chimney!

The senior FF (Earl) and I go inside and get the story from the homeowners. Earl takes one step toward the fireplace, stops, turns and says, "what am I doing? Rookie, get in there!" I don my safety glasses and gloves, drop my shield down and crawl into the fireplace.

I shine my light up the flue and see eyes shining back at me. The cat starts meowing but won't come when called so I reach up and manage to grab it by a paw and pull it down. The cat reluctantly and loudly comes out, along with a cloud of soot, touches down on me and takes right off around their living room, literally running 4 feet up the wall and over furniture with a cloud of soot and ash trailing behind it.

They open a door and the cat runs out. Earl turns and looks at me and starts to really smile! He turns to the homeowner and asked if they had a broom he could borrow. They get him a broom and he asks me to walk gingerly and escorts me out to their front yard where he sweeps me off with a chuckle along with the homeowners who are at their front door watching.

They thank us for the help, and we get on our way back to the hall to await the next call. There were a lot of cat related jokes made at my expense for the rest of the tour!