Duluth firefighters save cat in Park Point house fire

By Korey Kaczur

September 12, 2016

Updated Sep 12, 2016 at 11:55 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) — Videos of firefighters saving animals from house fires have been going viral.

And on Thursday, one Park Point family experienced that miracle for themselves.

When the fire broke out at Shirley Reierson and her husband, Jim Gruba’s, house on Thursday night, their first thought was to “get out and grab the animals,” said Reierson.

They were able to get out safely with one of their cats before the house filled up with smoke, but their bird and second feline were left behind.

“We have a nice home, we have a nice life, and it is nothing without family. And our pets are part of our family,” said Reierson.

They were told to evacuate the house and not go back in to search for the pets left inside.

And in a fire just like this one, it’s only natural to want to go in and rescue the animals, but safety is a firefighter’s priority. Not just for you, but also for your pets.

Duluth firefighter Jake Grunderson said they frequently go to structure fires where animals are involved.

“Fortunately people get out quickly and they don’t take the time to try to find their pet. They rely on us to do that for them which is absolutely what we want them to do,” said Grunderson.

Reierson and Gruba were sure their other cat, Mazzy, would not survive, but two hours after the fire started, the Duluth firefighters found her hiding.

She was limp from breathing in the smoke, so Grunderson gave her oxygen through a special mask designed for pets that they’ve received from Invisible Fence of the Northland as seen in the picture courtesy of Reierson.

Reierson described the event as a miracle saying, “this man took the time to take this 18-year-old cat and take care of her. It’s probably one of the most moving things I’ve ever seen in my life.”

And saving another life is a reason why Grunderson and his crew love their job.

He said, “I don’t know that I would call us heroes for doing it. It’s what were asked to do, it’s what we sign up to do when we agree to put on the uniform and agree to put on the gear when we go to calls, but its definitely a great thing to be able to do.”

Even though this is something the firefighters do every day, it changes the lives of those they help.

“I love them,” exclaimed Reierson. “They are my heroes! They are incredible. Really… We are all alive because of them.”

Grunderson said pet owners can also purchase ‘pet finder’ stickers to put in their windows to make it easier for first responders to look for any pets inside the house if a fire starts.

We Have Pets Inside

Firefighters prioritize human lives as the number one priority; however pets lives are high in priority as well. In a house fire firefighters call out to people who may respond back.  Pets however may cower and hide and may not alert them that they are there.  By placing a save my pet sticker on the outside of each external door to your home or RV firefighters can be alerted that you have pets inside to be rescued.

Our high quality low-cost vinyl stickers are printed with U.V. inks and are weather, scratch and sun proof.  Purchase one sticker for each exterior door to your home or RV.

Place your stickers half to 3/4 up from the bottom of the door to ensure that firefighters will see that you have pets inside.