I have a special place in my heart for firefighters. Not just because of the bravery and sacrifice of hundreds of them in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and their daily heroic actions across the U.S. and around the world, but because firefighters once saved my family’s property and my younger brother’s life when a grass fire broke out at our rural homestead.
Whenever I hear an awesome firefighter story, all of those memories come up, and I shed a tear of joy. So when I heard about this incident, I knew I had to share it.
This story takes place in my beloved home state of Maine, and it started two weeks ago when the Bangor Fire Department rushed to a major fire in an apartment building.
After the fire was knocked down, Bruce Johnson heard a cat crying from one of the rooms. When he investigated, he found a small orange cat, burned and barely breathing. He brought the poor, sweet thing out and began resuscitating her with a pet oxygen mask which, incidentally, had been donated to the fire department by his sister.
The rescuers rushed the cat to a local veterinary hospital, where she has been under treatment for the last two weeks.
Now, Johnson has decided to adopt the cat he rescued. He gave her the name Flame (for obvious reasons, considering her fur color and where she was found), and the vet clinic is waiving all costs for the cat’s treatment because of his good deed.
“This isn’t my first offense; Ive pulled a couple of others out of fires, too,” Johnson said.
One of Johnson’s colleagues, who goes by the name firefighterjake in the Hearth.com forums, said, “Of course were all having a bit of fun at Bruces expense . . . the guys have renamed him Hello Kitty.”
But it’s all part of the good-natured ribbing that seems to take place in most fire departments. Johnson’s colleagues know the value of any life.
As firefighterjake says, “As a firefighter, short of pulling out a person … rescuing a pet whether it be a dog, cat or iguana is just one of those special moments where you truly believe that we have the best job in the world.”
You’re right. You do have the best job in the world. Congratulations to Bruce Johnson and all of Bangor’s bravest, and I thank you with all my heart.
Here’s a video of the WABI-TV news story where I first heard the tale of Bruce Johnson and his new family member:
(In a reader? Watch the video here.)