SACRAMENTO, CA - A calico kitten was pulled from a North Sacramento storm drain after four days underground.
It was her frightened meows that saved her.
Indercum High School junior Harry Deol was walking with two friends when he heard the kitten's plaintive meows coming from a storm drain at the intersection of Del Paso Boulevard and Acacia Ridge.
"And I found a rope over there and we tried getting it out with the rope and it wouldn't come so that's when we called the fire department," Deol said.
Sacramento Fire Department's Truck 30 was on scene in minutes.
"We're here for the citizens and that's a citizen's animal, a citizen's loved one that we want to get back to them and hopefully reunite them," fire Capt. Todd Filbrun said.
After a check to be sure the air was OK to breathe, Filbrun donned special gear and descended into the storm drain.
"The complicated part will be trying to get it out of the smaller tube and into the area that we can reach it," Filbrun explained as he headed down.
Filbrun soon discovered the small tan and white kitten was about 50 feet down a pipe that was too small for him to get into.
That's when firefighters had an idea.
"So the trick was to get her to come to me," Filbrun explained. "She was obviously very scared. And we used one of our breathing apparatus bottles, which are high pressure on the other end of the hole, blasted that down there, scared her towards me."
But the first three tries didn't work, as the kitten came only part way down. The fourth time was the charm.
"Last time, she ran all the way past me and hit the wall before I could grab her and then I grabbed her and she was really scared. She actually bit me. But I was able to get a good-enough grip on her to get her up here to safety," said Filbrun after he'd climbed back up.
The kitten calmed down quickly in Filbrun's arms and soon burrowed into a more comfortable position.
But firefighters would have had to give her to animal control officials, and they only respond if an animal is injured.
None of the handful of bystanders said they were prepared to take her. News10 agreed to take her back to the station and try to help find her owner.
And that's where it stands now: the kitten is warm, safe and well-fed and firefighters have done another day's good deed.
"Cats and dogs are humans' best friends and the next best thing to getting her out of this hole would be to find her original owner and reunite them," Filbrun said.