Firefighters used a little ingenuity and a lot of patience when a family of ducks fell into a storm drain in Cape Coral Monday.
Shortly before 10 a.m., resident Sandy Pizarro, who lives near the Capri Commons Office Complex at 420 Del Prado Blvd N observed a mother duck and about 10 ducklings along Northeast 15 Place west of Del Prado.
"When I first saw them there was about 6-8 or so, but when I looked again when taking my daughter to the school bus I only saw four," she said in a prepared statement released by the Cape Coral Fire Department.
Cape Coral Fire Department
When leaving again a short time later there was only one duckling and soon that one disappeared. Pizarro approached a dental office for help and employees there, in turn, called the fire department.
Cape Coral firefighters from Engine 5 and Rescue 5 under the command of Lt. James Hunt responded and discovered the ducklings had fallen through a very narrow grate at the entrance to Capri Commons. There was no way to open up the area and get down to the ducklings, which were approximately 2-3 feet below ground.
It didn't take long for the crews to come up with a safe way to get to the ducks.
"Since there was no way to get down to the ducks, and since ducks love water, it made sense to float the ducks up to within reach," said Michael Heeder, Cape Coral Fire Department spokesperson.
Firefighters used the tank water from both Engine 5 and Rescue 5 to fill the drain. As the water rose inside the catch basin, the ducks floated towards the grate. Engineer Todd Clark, using a pair of tongs, was able to reach in and pull the ducklings to safety all while the mother duck kept and watchful eye from a distance.
What was thought to be 8-10 ducks ended up being 20 ducklings, and all were saved by the firefighters. It took nearly an hour to catch all of the ducklings. None of them were injured in the rescue effort and once all ducklings were removed, mother duck and children found shelter in a culvert nearby.
"While we do handle animal rescues including ducks on a fairly regular basis, each rescue itself is unique," said Heeder. "We have to balance the need for helping with the need to have our units immediately available for fires and rescue calls in our community. That being said, we will always respond and assist when someone calls for help."
Source: Cape Coral Fire Department