News Sports Opinion Photos Social Classified Obits Contact

Firemen make unusual rescue

By Michael Butler

The Tallassee Fire Department does more than fight fires. They cover the gamut - from vehicle extrications to cat-from-tree rescues. Last week, a puppy needed the assistance of a couple of first responders.

On Thursday, Feb. 17, a family from Tuskegee contacted Tallassee about their dog which had gotten its head stuck inside the rim of a tire.

"She called Tuskegee Fire Department. They said they didn't have any tools or equipment to help them out," Tallassee Fire Captain Travis Jones said of the canine's owner. "She said they sent some police officers over. They tried some Crisco oil or something and still couldn't get him out. She picked up the phone and called us."

The dog had been trapped about three hours prior to being brought to Tallassee.

"Since they were coming over here, I had some time to think about it," Jones added. "I asked for a picture. They snapped a couple and sent them over. I went to the rescue truck to see what tools we have. I knew the dog would be scared if you used something loud. We used hydraulic shears that would be used for extrication. That tool is not loud. The loud part is back at the pump.

"We cut the center part out that his head was in, so we had a smaller piece with just his head to work with. Those shears are very strong. When they start pinching on metal, they'll move metal and make it malleable. We just cut pieces off of it and were able to slide the dog's head out."

The animal was completely unharmed.

"The only thing I can relate it to is knowing your tools, what they're capable of doing and how to use them. We wouldn't have treated that any different than we would a child that had his arm stuck in there."

Jones (standing) and Thompson

Jamie Thompson aided Jones in the rescue.

"Once we put our heads together, it took just a few minutes to dislodge it," Thompson said. "We didn't want to touch his head with the tools."

As for the family, they were extremely pleased.

"They were super happy," Thompson noted.

Animal rescues are not common calls but do occur on occasion for the TFD.

"We've rescued an animal in a well in Jordanville," Jones remembered. "There was another one on Macedonia Road. It was an old well that a dog fell in. We sent a guy down with a rope to get him out of the well. It was about 30 feet deep. It's just another one of those unique challenges."

Jones has 29 years of experience as a fireman. The former Tallassee chief is back helping Tallassee with his younger brother Eric now serving in the role he once held.

"It's hard when you're a leader not to lead," he said.