BELVIDERE, Ill. (WTVO) — First responders handle a wide variety of situations, typically, people in need of assistance.

But last week, the Belvidere Fire Department lent a helping hand to a family of ducklings who got stuck in a storm drain.

“You get the odd call, cats in trees and things like that,” said Belvidere firefighter Nicolas Thornton. “You see other departments do things and wonder if you’d get the opportunity, but sometimes, unique calls come along.”

Thornton has been a Belvidere firefighter for 13 years. He says he’s only seen a handful of unique emergency rescues.

“[On Thursday] were out doing some training and Chief Hyser came by and said that, over at Culver’s, they had some ducklings in the storm drain that we needed help getting out,” Thornton remembered.

Normal calls usually range from helping someone who has fallen and can’t get up, to rescuing someone from a burning building.

But this one didn’t fit the “bill.”

“Sure enough, there was four little ducklings inside the storm drain, and mom and two other ones had taken off,” Thornton said.

Probationary firefighter Adrian Trujillo helped with the rescue.

“We just opened it up and took them out,” he said. “We have to take special care of those, because they’re smaller creatures, so you can’t startle them or have them run away, because then they’ll go down the rest of the storm drain. Then it’s a lot harder for us to get in there.”

Thornton said, “We’re pretty well prepared. Culver’s had a box and Chief Hyser was making some calls to the park district and animal control, and then we ended up calling the conservation district, and they were coming out to assist us if we needed help with the ducklings, or a place to relocate them.”

Luckily, there was no need for any of those resources.

“The mom duck came back. We were able to just set them free with the mom duck,” Thornton said.

“We pulled out the ducklings and heard a louder quack behind us. I remember turning around and there she is, with two little other ducklings,” Trujillo said.

Thornton and Trujillo both said it felt good to be able to rescue the animals.


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