Tuesday, November 19, 2013
While the days of rescuing cats from trees – who, by the way, who get down on their own when they are good and ready – is long gone, fortunately for one egret Saturday, rescue of water fowl has not been removed from the can-do list for Summerville Fire and Rescue.
Around 10 a.m. Nov. 16, a call came into dispatch regarding a bird caught in fishing line in a tree near Jessen Boat Landing at the end of Ladson Road along the Ashley River.
Station 3 responded with its ladder truck. However once on the scene, said firefighter Andrew Quattlebaum, it took a bit of clever jockeying of the massive truck to get the ladder to reach the general proximity of the tree from which the bird was hanging, trapped by fishing line twisted around its wing.
“There is the CPW water treatment plant there and a bunch of trees between us and the tree the bird was hanging from.”
Even then it didn’t quite extend far enough and Quattlebaum along with firefighter Brian Bozman, had to stretch a bit using a long pole a watching citizen provided, to try to catch the line, pull it toward the cage at the end of the ladder and to rescue the bird.
“It took us about 20 minutes to get the bird,” said Quattlebaum, “it was really hard to reach.”
“There was a lot of fishing line in the tree,” said Quattlebaum. “I guess fishermen would go to cast, get their line caught in the tree and just cut it off (leaving the caught line in the tree).”
Once the bird was in hand, it took quite a while to disentangle the fishing line from its wing at a picnic table there.
“The bird was so tired it didn’t really move a lot,” said Quattlebaum.
The firefighter who did the actual rescue was Bozman, said Quattlebaum. Bozman was a bit reticent but did note that two citizens did the actual disentanglement, “I only held the bird.”
“Someone had a pocket knife and someone else had a tiny pair of tweezer-like scissors and they
cut the line off while I held the bird.”
Bozman also suggested they wrap it in a towel while they waited for Animal Control to arrive. Quattlebaum said the bird’s wing showed no obvious injury but did have a bit of blood on it. “It wasn’t deformed or anything.”
Radio traffic back and forth noted that the Department of Natural Resources doesn’t deal with birds and Animal Control doesn’t deal with wild animals.
However, fortunately for the egret, Animal control did respond. Otherwise, said Quattlebaum, “we would have had to release it.”
Along with two other firefighters assigned to the ladder truck, Quattlebaum said there were about 10 citizens cheering on the rescue.
On being a bird’s hero?
“Glad I could help,” said Bozman.