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Quack, quack, help! WMFR to the rescue

By Rick Catlin, Islander Reporter

West Manatee Fire Rescue firefighters netted and returned a duckling to its mother after a July 29 rescue from a drainage pipe in the 2000 block of 91st Street Northwest in Bradenton. Islander Photos: Courtesy Susan Miller

WMFR firefighters work on locating a duckling trapped in a drainage pipe under the road.

When a baby duck gets trapped in a storm drain in west Manatee County, friends know to call the West Manatee Fire Rescue.

Susan Miller of Mango Park in northwest Bradenton did just that when she discovered baby ducks trapped in a drainage pipe.

On July 29, Miller went to the WMFR administration building at 407 67th Ave. W., Bradenton, to ask for help in rescuing some ducklings trapped in a storm drain near her home.

WMFR firefighters responded immediately to the house in the 2000 block of 91st Street Northwest, according to a press release from WMFR Deputy Chief Brett Pollock.

The release said firefighters found “a mother duck walking frantically around a storm drain,” and they could hear ducklings quacking in the drain.

WMFR Lt. Jeff Lonzo had the manhole covers on both sides of the road removed. Lonzo then peered into the drainage system and saw two ducklings between the road and a retention pond, the release said.

Lonzo said he determined that a discharge pipe was clogged, preventing the ducklings from making their own escape.

Firefighters removed debris from the discharge pipe, then pumped water from a household garden house into the drain. Capt. Ryan Moore used a crab net to try and capture the ducklings, but was unsuccessful at first.

However, using his hands, he was able to catch one of the ducklings and bring it to safety. A few minutes after the first rescue, the second duckling swam from the discharge pipe into the pond and was reunited with its mother, the release said.

Miller said the WMFR crew that responded were “kind, gentle and compassionate to the little ducks.”

All in a day’s work for WMFR firefighters, said WMFR Chief Andy Price.

The chief said WMFR firefighters probably don’t need to have classes in duck rescue as they appear to have learned on-the-job.

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