Parkersburg firefighters rescue kitten

Photo Provided Humane Society of Parkersburg Humane Officer Philip Hunt, center, holds a kitten rescued from a car’s engine compartment Tuesday by Parkersburg firefighters Adam Delbaugh, left, and Eric Poole.

PARKERSBURG — Two Parkersburg firefighters this week rescued a kitten, not from a tree, but a car’s engine compartment.

Two employees of the Bureau of the Fiscal Service were walking by the Wood County Justice Center parking lot on Third Street when they heard a cat meowing. They couldn’t see the feline but eventually tracked the sound to a car parked in the lot.

Just across the street from the Parkersburg Municipal Building, they sought the help of firefighters at Station 1. Pvts. Eric Poole and Adam Delbaugh came to the scene.

“We could hear it too, but we couldn’t get to it,” Poole said.

Not wanting to damage the vehicle, the firefighters enlisted the aid of the Police Department. An officer had the plates checked to identify the owner, who also worked at Fiscal Service, Poole said.

“The woman that owned the car, she didn’t know anything about it,” he said.

The owner opened the car and popped the hood. The firefighters were able to pinpoint the cat’s calls to an empty space above a skid plate near the front, passenger-side wheel.

Delbaugh used a drill to unscrew a plate to get to the cat. When he reached for it, the all-black feline dodged his hand, but that allowed Poole to spot and grab it from above.

“It didn’t want to come out of there,” he said. “It was scared.”

Humane Society of Parkersburg Humane Officer Philip Hunt arrived on the scene as Delbaugh was loosening the plate. He said it appeared the kitten was 3 or 4 months old. The presence of a burn that had started to scab on the animal’s face indicated it had probably been in the car for a while, likely with the owner driving around, he said.

“It’s actually very common,” Hunt said of cats, particularly young ones, crawling up into cars. “They like to explore, and they love to hide in things and crawl in things.”

The woman who first heard the kitten meowing volunteered to take it to the vet to be checked and give it a home, Hunt said. Since she accepted responsibility and agreed to have it spayed or neutered, she was able to take the cat then and there.

Poole said the feline rescue was an example of what he enjoys about working for the Fire Department: Every day is different.

“Instead of saying ‘Fire Department’ on the trucks, it should say ‘Everything Department,’ because we do a little bit of everything,” he said.