Once in a while Harford County Volunteer Firefighters get a frantic request from a resident whose cat is stuck up a tree or trapped in a gutter, and they’re happy to rescue the terrified pet, according to Lieutenant Volunteer Firefighter John Terrell, 30. But it’s a much rarer moment when a 9-1-1 call comes through like the one the Joppa-Magnolia Volunteer Fire Station received around 10 Tuesday night from a development in Edgewood: Help! Wild baby fox trapped at the bottom of a storm drain.
The team looked around at one another bemused before sprinting into foxy action.
“We were like, all right I guess we got to go get the fox out of the storm drain,” explains David Collins, the 26-year-old volunteer who donned gloves and saved the tiny red animal, who emitted what he calls a “bark,” as rescuers approached.
Was Collins nervous he might receive a bite? Not at all, in fact, he makes the endeavor sound almost effortless.
“We pulled the grate out, put a ladder in; I crawled down there, picked him up, and carried him out,” Collins says.
Because the animal had a noticeable limp, the compassionate firefighters contacted Harford Animal Control, the state Department of Natural Resources and several vets, but it was late and help was hard to come by.
Volunteers brought the baby fox back to the station where he snoozed on Collins’ lap (see photo below).
He really is [cute],” Collins admits.
Meanwhile, several firefighters searched the internet for options for medical treatment.
Finally, a knowledgeable employee at Chadwell Animal Hospital in Abingdon offered over-the-phone advice throughout the night.
Collins decided to name the rescued fox “Pierce” for one very practical reason.
“Pierce, it’s the manufacturer of the fire apparatus,” he says.
At 8:30 Wednesday morning, Chadwell welcomed Pierce for treatment. Phoenix Wildlife Center offered to take the fox once he’s feeling better.
Collins says, “Phoenix are probably the ones that have him now.”
The station extends huge thanks to many members of the community who offered support via social media comments. They’d like to remind animal-loving residents that the Harford County Health Department will sponsor a rabies vaccination clinic between 2 and 4 p.m. Sunday at the fire station at 1403 Old Mountain Road South in Joppa.