Firefighte Finds and Rescues Cat After House Fire

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By Karen Harrison Binette

Captain John Griffith with the cat he rescued following a house fire.

A firefighter describes how he found and rescued a cat while checking a house following a fire in South Fort Myers, FL earlier this month.

Captain John Griffith was part of the crew when members of the Sanibel Fire & Rescue District (SFRD) were called in to assist the Iona-McGregor Fire Department with a house fire in South Fort Myers on September 6. The Sanibel crew was tasked with “cleanup duty,” doing a check of the water soaked house after the fire was extinguished.

“The fire was pretty much down,” said Captain Griffith as he related the rescue story. “So when I was going through the house, I was checking the kitchen, checking the living room… making sure that everything was out.”

“I looked down and saw what I thought was a balled-up sweatshirt… and it turned out to be the family’s cat.”

The cat was curled up into a ball while laying in three inches of standing water. The rescuer reached into the water and picked up the cat, checking to see if it was still alive.

“As soon as I picked it up, the cat made a little move. It started panting… it’s mouth was wide open.”

The cat clung to its rescuer as Griffith exclaimed to his fellow firefighters, “This cat’s alive!”

Griffith brought the cat out of the burned out residence and got an Iona-McGregor crew member to help by giving it oxygen with a pet oxygen mask.

Within a half hour, the cat was returned to its family, who the rescuer said were “ecstatic” that their pet was alive and well and back with them.

“They told me that the cat had just turned 1 year old.”

“In my 17 years of being a firefighter, I had never been able to save the life of an animal like that, so it was kinda cool. It was luck more than anything else.”


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