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Firefighters Rescue Feathered Victim

Our Firefighters heroics aren't limited to just saving people.

By Susan Hunt

Baltimore County Office of Public Safety Media & Communications

Yes, firefighters do occasionally rescue cats stuck in trees, horses stuck in mud, dogs trapped in burning buildings … and, recently, a great blue heron tangled in a kite string.

Sometimes, even the most experienced rescue workers face situations not covered at the Fire-Rescue Academy. That’s what happened on Sunday, April 29, when Halethorpe’s Truck 5, under the command of Lt. Stephen Sindler, was dispatched to assist the Arbutus Volunteer Fire Department with a rescue involving a great blue heron dangling by its wing from a kite string suspended between two 60-foot trees. The string had wrapped itself several times around the bird’s wing.

Now, the long-legged blue heron—almost as much a state bird as the Baltimore oriole – weighs about seven pounds and stands 4 1/2 feet tall with a wingspan of nearly 6 1/2 feet. One of the tricky things about trying to save them is that they are carnivores who kill their prey by impaling them with their blade-like beaks. This was no standard fluffy kitten rescue.  

Carefully, Truck 5’s crew extended the aerial ladder between the trees. Probationary Firefighter David Hepner climbed the ladder, and—assisted by the DNR officer on the ground—pulled the string and the bird towards him. Following the DNR officer’s instructions, PFF Hepner grabbed hold of the bird, cut the string, disentangled the bird and carried the patient to the ground. Crews turned the heron over to Baltimore County Animal Control officers.

The story has a happy ending. Animal Control personnel transferred the bird to the Phoenix Wildlife Center, which treated its injuries and a few days later released it back into the wild. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Buzz Beeler June 20, 2012 at 10:06 PM
Terry thanks. I messed up on the Chief's e-mail. It got caught up in my spam folder and even a computer search did not pick it up. This is the blog I just did and I'm going to do one of the FD. I owe the chief that much. http://dundalk.patch.com/blog_posts/life-is-a-perilous-journey-you-must-be-prepared
Butt-hurt Buzz June 21, 2012 at 01:54 AM
Priceless....so quick to pull the trigger Beeler!
Buzz Beeler June 21, 2012 at 02:01 AM
At least I man enough to admit when I make a mistake and can apologize for it. At least I'm man enough to use my own God given name. When you reach adulthood then you can criticize me.
Steve June 21, 2012 at 03:06 AM
"I man enough..." Is that grammatically correct "Professor"?
Buzz Beeler June 21, 2012 at 10:18 AM
No on both counts.

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