Denver firefighters cut through dumpster to free trapped kitten

By Ben Hooper  |  Jan. 7, 2016 at 11:37 AM
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DENVER, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- A crew of Denver firefighters -- self-described "big softies" -- spent more than an hour working to free a kitten with its head stuck in a drain hole inside a dumpster.

Denver Fire Department Assistant Chief Gregory Taft shared pictures on Facebook of the Jan. 1 operation, which involved a crew using specialized tools to free the trapped kitten.

"Our engine company arrived first on scene and found a cat that had its head stuck in a drain hole inside the dumpster," Lt. Aaron Jonke told KUSA-TV. "Even though it's not a human being, it still becomes a technical rescue. The engine company found them but Truck 8 actually has specialized tools to be able to do intricate operations like that."

Jonke said the firefighters used a saw and other tools to cut through the metal and free the feline's head.

"We used a drill, a reciprocating saw, a grinder and what we call a 'Whiz Wheel.' We also had to use water to keep the dumpster cool when we were cutting the metal so we didn't burn the cat as well," Jonke said. "Absolutely we feel for it. We treat it just like it was a human being in a sense. We want to make sure we rescue the cat and rescue the cat safely."

Taft said the cat appeared "malnourished" and appeared to have been in the dumpster "for a while."

The kitten was taken to the Denver Animal Shelter, which said on Facebook the 8-week-old cat appears to be in good health.

The firefighters said they were happy to help the kitten.

"We're not heroes. We're just doing our job," Jonke said. "Somebody called and we're a bunch of big softies down here at Station 8, so we wanted to make sure we took care of that cat."

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