Deputy's Quick Work a Silver Lining For Family Who Lost Home in Fire

By Chris Earl, Reporter

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By Chris Earl

TROY MILLS, Iowa - Parker Rawson holds his nine-week-old kitten, just steps from the smoke-damaged lower flood of his family's home in rural Linn County.

His kitten is changing names, from 'Wuzzy' to the more appropriate 'Smokey' after a fire swept through on Sunday night.

"We heard a pop, got downstairs and heard the smoke alarms go off and we started running," said the 11-year-old boy. "As I got halfway through the house, I thought 'what about the cats?'"

Rawson, his mother and his two-year-old sister were able to escape the smoke that took over the basement and, eventually, most of their house. As the fire crews and other responders arrived, Deputy Ben Brink of the Linn County Sheriff's Office was one of them. A paramedic specialist by trade, Brink had to think fast.

He had a lifeless cat thrust upon him.

"I think it was the homeowner's wife who said, "can you see what you can do with this?" said Brink. "They said, 'don't let the kids see it' because it was limp at the time."

Brink said he walked back to his emergency-equipped vehicle.

"I came around the front and just got the oxygen mask and I laid the kitty on the ground and filled up my oxygen mask and starting letting it breathe the air and squeezing his little paw to get it to respond to me," said Brink.

The deputy said, after two or three minutes, the kitten woke up.

In a news release sent out by Sheriff Brian Gardner, the deputy listened to the kitten's lungs before it became more alert and rolled onto its belly.

This family has lost quite a bit as Parker and his family will be out of the home for months. The fortunate part is that they do have family nearby and will be staying with them.

"They had a bad break with their house so it's good that Parker gets to have his little kitty and have that to get through it," said Brink.

Parker was extremely gracious when thanking the people who helped in their time of need.

"I'd like to thank the firefighters that came out that night and the police," said Parker.

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