A squirrel is alive and even has its tail thanks to the Lake Oswego Fire Department.
Usually, as noted by Deputy Fire Marshal Gert Zoutendijk, firefighters court danger, disaster and destruction. But on this occasion they were able to rescue a small animal. It was a feel-good occasion.
"We did it because it was the right thing to do," said Zoutendijk. "A story like this makes people happy."
The incident happened Thursday evening as firefighters of the Westlake Fire Station were driving on Greenridge Drive.
It was firefighter Andrew Hedges who first noticed a squirrel whose tail was stuck in razor wire on top of a fence and was unable to move. Hedges was joined by firefighting comrades Dick Griffin and Jim Doane, who studied and evaluated the situation. They had to work fast because the desperate squirrel was starting to chew on its own tail in an effort to get loose from the nasty predicament.
The firefighters grabbed a ladder. As Hedges held onto the squirrel, Griffin untangled the furry critter's tail. The freed squirrel scurried back into nature.
"The squirrel was very much stuck and wouldn't have been able to get free otherwise," Zoutendijk said.
Animal rescue is one of the Lake Oswego Fire Department's many duties. The exception is when cats are caught up trees; those operations are left to cat rescue experts like Bob Stewert of Lake Oswego. In the past, firefighters have rescued dogs trapped on cliffs, cats in chimneys and deer caught in mud.