HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Firefighters jumped into action Tuesday night and made perhaps their most adorable rescue yet.
A camera was recording as they pulled a gray kitten stuck in a storm drain near the Cabell County courthouse in Huntington, West Virginia.
The kitten has an impressive set of pipes for such a small ball of fur. Her cries are what alerted people walking by to her presence. The kitty was hungry, scared and stuck in a storm drain.
"Two individuals were here who said seen a kitty cat down in the drain,” said Huntington firefighter Chris McGee. “So we put a flashlight in the drain and we heard it."
McGee and the other firefighters tried everything they could think of – rope, a flashlight, even a white sheet.
“It'd outsmart us every time and just run away,” he said.
But each time, the kitten would run to safety under the street.
“We weren't going to leave it,” said McGee. “We were going to get it out some way. No way we'd leave it."
McGee went down the ladder several times, contorting his body to fit through the opening. Finally, using the tried and true rope and flashlight, curiosity not killing but saving this kitty.
“It felt good, felt good to finally get him or her," he said.
That's right, the kitty is a she, not a he and just a couple weeks old at the most.
She was lifted to safety into the waiting gloves of another firefighter with eyes wide as saucers, scared but now safe.
"It's definitely a first,” said McGee. “I figured my first cat would be from a tree, not from a storm drain."
But the light of Wednesday reveals a whole new kitty, chowing down on everything in sight at the Huntington Cabell Wayne Animal Shelter.
She now has a name and it's a good one – Stormy, just like the color of her fur and the drain from where she was found.
"I hope it does get a good home,” said McGee. “If I had a place for it, I'd take it, but I can't do it."
Still, McGee did all he could to make sure Stormy has a bright future. Almost two years on the job, it's his first rescue.
"It felt good. A cat is a cat, but it's still a life,” he said.
Several people called about Stormy after seeing the story. Just before the shelter closed for the day, we got word that someone had come to adopt her.
McGee said all the publicity should be a good reminder of the things that first responders of all kinds do on a regular basis which usually go unrecognized.
"I'm an animal lover so there's a little special place in my heart for animals,” McGee adds. “It felt good. I enjoyed it."
He hopes the new owner keeps the name.
No one knows where Stormy came from or how she got in the drain. There was some water in the pipe under Fourth Avenue, keeping her from going too far.