Firefighter Goes Above and Beyond to Save Cat
Veteran firefighter Al Machado says it was just a typical day when he arrived at an apartment fire in New Bedford, Massachusetts, this past September. After ensuring that a water supply was available and hooked up, Al headed into the building to help fight the fire. “As I was going upstairs, I was handed a dog from a smoke-filled room,” Al says. “He appeared to be dead, but when I set him down outside, he started to gasp for air.” Al fashioned a makeshift leash and asked a bystander to hold it while he gave the dog some oxygen. “When I felt that the dog was going to be OK, I went back inside.”
This time, another firefighter handed him a cat. “She wasn’t doing well, but I figured if the dog had made it, maybe she had a chance if I gave her mouth-to-nose resuscitation,” he says. “I was scared she was going to bite my lip, but I kept giving her small breaths. She finally started breathing, so I put oxygen on her and asked a police officer to watch her while I went back in.” The cat, whose name is Kiki, was taken to the hospital and was doing fine after a couple of days. No people were injured in the blaze.
Kiki and the dog weren’t the only two animals Al and the other firefighters from the New Bedford Fire Department saved that day. “With the help of animal control, we rescued two other dogs, a ferret, a lizard, a frog, and a chinchilla,” says Al. “When I was picking up the chinchilla’s cage, the bottom dropped out, and the little critter took off. I chased it for a few seconds but then caught it without further incident.” Al reminds us that this really was all in a day’s work for him.
“I’ve rescued pets in the past at fires, just like many firefighters do every day,” he says.
Al shares his home with several pets: two boxers—a 7-year-old named Tuesday and her 2-year-old daughter named Ashes—and an 11-year-old cat named Seven, who likes to use Al as a warm place to sleep. Al has always loved animals. “I always wanted to be able to do what Steve Irwin did,” he says. We’ re glad he decided to become a firefighter. Although Al considers himself to be typical, we think giving mouth-to-nose to a cat goes beyond the normal call of duty. Consider this our nomination of Al for firefighter of the year!