Cat in Iowa recovering after being rescued from burning house by firefighters

This is your happy ending story of the week about a kitten saved by firefighters after being pulled from a burning house on September 5.

Cleo and her rescuers (photo courtesy of Ames Fire Department)
Cleo and her rescuers (photo courtesy of Ames Fire Department)
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Firefighters in Ames, Iowa were called to a house fire last Monday. Inside was the family cat, Cleo. Cleo’s owner had tried twice to run inside the home to rescue his cat but was overcome by smoke. Firefighters from the Ames Fire Department made two trips into the burning home before she was found unresponsive and surrounded by black smoke in the basement of the home.

The Ames Fire Department is prepared for just such an emergency. Nine masks of different sizes were donated to their department around 10 years ago. If’s rare the department has to use a mask, but it’s good to know they have them just in case, and credit the mask for saving Cleo’s life.

Ames Fire Department Lt. Jordan Damhof said he believes his coworkers’ actions are the reason Cleo was still alive when she was rushed to the Iowa State university College of Veterinary Medicine.  Cleo was unable to stand or walk and was disoriented, but is said to be improving every day in the intensive care unit. As of Wednesday, she was still on oxygen. Veterinarians predicted Cleo would be able to go home in a few days.

Owner Annie Fangman said in an interview with KCCI News

“I’m really thankful. I can’t even put it into words really, what they did for us and saved our cat.”

The Ames Fire Department posted this story on their Facebook wall Tuesday

“A touching moment at yesterdays house fire on Duff. The crew of Truck 3 rescued Cleo out of the basement of the house on fire, unresponsive and not breathing. The crew worked tirelessly for over 30 minutes to bring her back to life. The Ames Fire Department keeps special pet revival masks on all apparatus because we know that pets are family too! Cleo was transported to ISU Vet Med via the Ames Police Department, and the owner had encouraging words today about her recovery. Cleo has regained full neurological function, and is still being treated for respiratory issues but is expected to do well. We wish the family the best! This is a great reminder to never go back into a burning building to rescue pets or loved ones, you can be overcome with smoke making it more difficult for us to rescue everyone. Let the professionals make the rescue, we have the training and equipment to be successful!”

The United States is fortunate to have fire departments who recognize the special bond between a pet and her owner. Thank you for your continued effort, even when the situation appeared hopeless, to save this one little cat.


7 thoughts on “Cat in Iowa recovering after being rescued from burning house by firefighters”

  1. I believe firefighters rescue more cats than people from fires, and it’s the best feel-good kind of story I have ever seen on the internet. True heroes.

      • Great story. It always amazes me how tender and dedicated people can be when rescuing a single cat especially firefighters and yet on the other side of the coin millions of unwanted but healthy cats are destroyed in cat shelters annually. It is weird for me.

        Thanks Elisa.


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