The New York City Fire Department (FDNY) was observing a moment of silence, marking the 22nd anniversary commemoration of 9/11 when the silence broke. Once again, the firefighters sprung into action, but this time, it was to save a tiny kitten! These amazing firefighters are always ready to save lives, even as they took a rare pause to reflect on the department’s darkest day.
FDNY Saves a Kitten During a Moment of Silence for 9/11
Amid many posts observing 9/11, when 343 members of the FDNY gave their lives, they shared the unexpected story of rescuing a cute grey kitten. Members at Ladder 158 in Queens were observing the moment of silence when a car pulled up, and a man asked for help on the spot.
“He said, ‘I think I have an animal in my engine,’” Lt. Robert Schlaffer recalled. “It’s not the weirdest thing we’ve ever heard,” Schlaffer told the New York Post.
Every year, 9/11 is a solemn occasion, particularly since the heroes that day are still losing their lives today due to World Trade Center-related illnesses. But that didn’t stop them from springing into action for a civilian and a trapped kitten.
Firefighter/ Mechanics Work to Free a Trapped Kitten
No matter what day or time it is, kittens can be depended on to find a way to get into dangerous situations. This day was no different, and the little one was deep inside the car’s engine. It would take a mechanic to get in there. Fortunately, firefighter Anthony Caliendo, also a mechanic, was there and went to work with Firefighters Chris Lyons, Dwayne Campbell (also a former mechanic), John Moravek, and Claudius Caines.
FDNY shared a video of Caliendo, 27, working underneath the car to get to the kitten. First, the men had to remove a tire to get close enough to reach for the kitten. But even with the tire off, the kitten was stuck tight. That’s when they reached for a big bottle of kitten-safe Dawn dish soap. It’s amazing they had everything they needed for rescuing the kitten that day!
“There was some kind of bar pinning it down and keeping it from getting out, so we used Dawn dish soap and lathered him all up, and eventually, I was able to pull the kitten out,” said Caliendo.
Video via Instagram/fdny
Every Life is Important
After 20 minutes, the greasy baby was free, and then it was time for a nice bath. The picture swaddled in a warm towel is just too cute.
“When we finally got it out it was swaddled like a baby, the poor thing was looking at me soaking wet,” Caliendo said.
After the heroic impromptu rescue, Lt. Schlaffer praised the men for saving the kitten, saying, “every life is important.”
Although it was a solemn day, the firefighter’s quick thinking and action saved the kitten’s life with no time to spare.
“I’m not saying it was NASCAR pit crew, but everything we do is with a sense of urgency…if he kept driving that cat wouldn’t have made it, there’s no way,” Lt. Schlaffer said.
Lucky ‘Felix’ Starts a New Life with One of the Firefighters!
The story just gets better because a firefighter from the same firehouse decided to adopt the cutie. The Post shared the news that Christopher Yasparro, 38, and his fiance Karisa Moore named the kitten Felix. It means “Lucky” in Latin. Now, they share a home with two of Moore’s cats.
“After everything the cat went through and all of the trouble, we felt it was the right thing to do,” Yasparro, a Howard Beach resident, told The Post. “We got it checked out. It was happy and healthy so we decided to give the kitten a home,” said Yasparro.
“What a sweet story to come out of such a heavy and hard day for the FDNY. Congrats to the new kitten parent. 😍” someone commented.
“I know there were big, heavy things on your hearts on Monday. Thank you for taking the time to keep helping those in need anyway. ❤️” said another person.
Ladder 138 has the team name “Swamp Dogs,” but that doesn’t mean they don’t love cats too! Felix almost became a purrmanent resident of the firehouse, but it’s already home to the firehouse dog, Jake. So the team didn’t want to put the tiny kitten at risk and found a safe, loving home instead. Happy life, Felix and friends! And thank you to the FDNY for the many heroic things you do every day.