PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Firefighters used a rope rescue team to save a cat that that was stuck on a girder about 10-12 feet below the decking of the St. Johns Bridge on Friday morning.
Lt. Rich Tyler said a person was walking on the north side of the bridge around 3:16 a.m. and reported hearing the cat crying. The person called 911. Nearby Station 21 sent a crew to investigate what was happening. Once they got on scene, they determined the cat was mid-span, on a girder, below the bridge deck.
“One misstep and it’s a long way to the river,” Tyler said.
According to Oregon Department of Transportation, the mid-span of the bridge, is located about 200 feet above the Willamette River.
The rope rescue team was notified and they set up a rope system to lower a firefighter down over the side of the bridge down to where the cat was. Tyler said the Technical Rescue Team, as it is officially called, is highly trained for all sorts of rescues.
“(They were) able to put that kitten into a bag (and) successfully contain the kitten and then raise the firefighter and the kitten back up to the top of the deck,” Tyler said.
Firefighters don’t know specifically how the cat ended up under the bridge, but Tyler said, based on where it was located, “it didn’t get there by itself.” Crews on scene speculated that someone may have abandoned or thrown the kitten off the bridge. Under Oregon law, animal abandonment is a misdemeanor.
Tyler said the rescue was difficult because there was nothing protecting the kitten. If it got scared, or ran away from the firefighter, it could have fallen into the water below.
The kitten was taken to DoveLewis. Tyler said the person who called 911 is interested in adopting the cat.
“In the City of Portland, our pets are our friends, our family,” Tyler said. “It’s part of the job that we not only take care of the people in our city, but also our pets.”
Tyler said firefighters have unofficially named the kitten “Lucky”.