Photo by Jacob Gloodt

The Oak Park Fire Department has made some serious rescues this past summer, and the most recent resulted in a kitten finding a permanent home.

Fire personnel were called to 700 block of Washington Boulevard earlier this month after receiving reports of a cat trapped in a parked vehicle. The little gray stray, only a few weeks old, had gotten itself lodged inside the vehicle’s engine and was crying desperately for help, according to Battalion Chief Jacob Gloodt, who coordinated the rescue efforts.

“I think it realized it had got itself into a bad spot and was scared,” Gloodt said. “It was meowing pretty loud; you could hear it from the sidewalk.”

Gloodt was the first firefighter on the scene. He recalls being able to see the frightened feline from underneath the car. However, it was too upset to be coaxed out, so Gloodt called in reinforcements.

The fire engine crew used a carjack to lift up the vehicle. Then owner of the vehicle popped open its front hood. The firefighters led the kitten out of the engine.

The whole operation was pretty straightforward. Neither the animal nor the vehicle was harmed in the conduct of this rescue. The vehicle’s owner, whose name Gloodt didn’t catch, was so taken with the kitten, he adopted it on the spot.

Gloodt, who has three cats of his own, told Wednesday Journal he immediately texted his daughter after completing the rescue mission.

“She goes, ‘Oh, can you bring it home?’” he said. “I’m like, ‘Don’t we have enough cats already?’”

This wasn’t the fire department’s only kitten rescue this year, however. It wasn’t even Gloodt’s only rescue. He was previously involved in another cat predicament this past spring: a beautiful black cat had gotten stuck on a vehicle’s back axle.

“That one was actually kind of tricky,” he recalled.

Gloodt and another firefighter had to lift the vehicle, which was parked in the 100 block of Marion Street, and get underneath it. They used streams of air to direct the kitten out of the vehicle and to safety, with Gloodt nudging it along.

Once it was safely removed, the cat was taken to the Animal Care League. A self-proclaimed “softie,” Gloodt followed up with the shelter and found that the cat had been adopted.

“If it had sat there too long, I’m sure it would have ended up at my house,” he said.

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