Pets Rescue to remember
WHEN most people see huge snakes slithering towards them they run in the opposite direction.
But a Sydney team of specially trained firefighters sprang into action in 2013 to save more than five jungle pythons from a ferocious blaze destroying their home in Lidcombe.
The Burwood fire station crew are trained in animal rescue and were called to the home to find the roof and garage alight.
When they arrived they were met with rats streaming out the doors, trying to escape the smoke followed by the pythons.
“Luckily one of the men attending the blaze had snakes of his own, so he wasn’t scared when this snake came out the door, but it was certainly one of the stranger things I’ve seen on a job,” Burwood fire station commander Christopher Sykes says.
While the house full of scared snakes is Sykes’s most memorable animal rescue, he doesn’t mind being called out to the odd “cat up a tree” mission.
“We get pet rescue jobs at least twice a month, sometimes more – cats and dogs are always getting into trouble,” he says.
“We treat domestic animals just like we would people, we do everything we can to save them, and often helping a cat out of a sewer is great practice for when there’s a child stuck.
“We’ve had to get in cherry pickers to help cats stuck on buildings, break an entire wall because a cat was stuck in a fireplace and even had a dog that tried to squeeze through a fence but its stomach was too fat.
“Once they know we’re there to help they’re usually very calm, but some cats do scratch.”
Inquisitive cats and dogs that get themselves stuck are often bored, Sykes says.
“Cats just like to roam. Dogs like to investigate sounds and holes,” he says.
Sykes suggests getting down to your pet’s level and making sure there are no spaces that they could squeeze themselves into.
“Dogs underestimate their size,” he says.
“They’ll get into a spot and they can’t get out.”
Firefighter Andrew Naylor with a snake he rescued from a house fire.