Waterloo Firefighters Rescue Cat
By Brady Smith, Anchor/Reporter
WATERLOO, Iowa - Ann Schimmels was in her garage Sunday evening, when she heard yelling. She ran outside, to find flames pouring out of her apartment window.
"[I] just started dousing it out with the fire extinguisher. Mike had the garden hose going," she said, pointing to her neighbor.
They kept the fire from spreading until firefighters arrived, the entire time knowing both of her cats were still inside.
"The first one they brought out, she was already dead," Schimmels said, "and when I saw her body, I just fell to pieces."
But a friend rescued her other cat, Nosy Rosie, and handed her to Lt. Josh Heller, a Waterloo firefighter, just in time.
After a visit to the vet, Rosie is recovering in a nearby hotel, with the help of antibiotics and pain pills.
"She's still shaky, disoriented," Schimmels said.
Her life was saved in part because of specially-made oxygen masks, donated to the fire department by a local animal hospital.
"[We have] a cat or small dog one and then a bigger animal one," Lt. William Beck said, showing us the masks. Beck said pets often manage to avoid smoke inhalation better than humans.
"They can die from smoke inhalation just like a person can. The nice thing they have going for them is that they are low to the ground," Lt. Beck explained.
But they're not always as lucky as Rosie. Schimmels is thankful to the friends and firefighters who saved a part of her family.
"When it's your pets and they're like children to you, it makes you hurt," she said.
While human life is the top priority when firefighters respond to emergencies, Lt. Beck knows how important pets can be.
"One of the things we teach children is to never go back in, and to keep an eye on Mom and Dad, because sometimes they get lost in the chaos and they want to go back in," Lt. Beck said.
Waterloo firefighters are still investigating the fire's cause.
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