Six-hour effort rescues kitty trapped in Parkrose pipe

Talk about a lucky feline! This story will warm your heart when you see the outcome …

This specialized Portland Fire & Rescue squad rolls into Parkrose, getting ready to rescue a kitten – not up a tree, but stuck in a pipe.

By David F. Ashton
If cats do have nine lives, a Parkrose area kitten came close to losing one or more of them on September 16, after it got stuck beneath a home near NE 118th Avenue and NE Sandy Boulevard.

The call came in to the 9-1-1 center at 7:30 p.m., and the operator learned that the homeowners could hear a kitten crying for help, somewhere in their basement walls.

Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) special Rescue Squad 1 rolled out from downtown to help the firefighters from Parkrose Station 2, who were already on-scene.

Using a confined-space video viewing rig, a firefighter looks for signs of the crying kitty.

Crews found several drainage pipes, running about 4 feet down – and kitty could have been in anyone of them.

Their short-probe video search cameras couldn’t spot the hiding kitten.

“We called in a plumbing company,” PF&R spokesman Ron Rouse reported. “With their long ‘snake camera’, they saw the kitten about 20 feet from the entrance of a 4-inch pipe.”

Via this video monitor, rescuers get their first look at their subject, still deep in the pipe.

But, the scaredy-cat wouldn’t budge. That is, until crew members from Truck 2 got the idea of blowing air into the opposite end of the pipe. “This got the kitten to turn around, and slowly work its way back toward the opening,” Rouse added.

It took about six hours for crews to gently prod the kitten out into the open.

Firefighter Scott Pearson holds the kitten henamed “Champ”; Battalion Chief Chris Babcock smiles after the rescue.

Firefighter Scott Pearson (seen on our cover page) plucked the lucky kitty from the pipe – and promptly named it “Champ”. “It was scared and hungry, but I’m sure that it was glad to be out of that dark, damp hole,” Pearson said.

While Champ got to spend its first night of freedom at the firehouse, firefighters turned it over to the care of the outer East Portland Oregon Humane Society.

A worker at the shelter said, “She’s doing fine. We estimate her age to be about 3 weeks old – and will be available for adoption in about a month.”

Safe and warm at the Oregon Humane Society, this cuddly kitty will be up for adoption next month. Oregon Humane Society image

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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