Photo submitted John Holder helping resuscitate a cat saved from a burning structure.

Photo submitted

John Holder helping resuscitate a cat saved from a burning structure.

It was a team effort that saved the life of a cat recently who was rescued from a house fire in Longview Subdivision last week.

The Russellville City Fire Department was called out to the fire on Nov. 1 as was the Logan County Ambulance Service for standby.

When firefighters Jonathan Epley and Russell Paul entered the smoke-filled structure it wasn't long before they realized a meowing in the back of the house.

"When we got to the back bedroom," said Elpey. "I could hear there was a cat behind the closed door." It was then the firefighters' dove into action and got the door open.

Epley said the cat was very scared and was hiding behind the door when opened. There was a lot of smoke so Captain Paul reached out and grabbed it and the two backed out of the house and handed it off to fellow firefighter Charles Logan, who immediately went to get the medical bag and start administering oxygen.

It was then that John Holder, Executive Director of Com-Care, Inc. who handles the county's ambulance service took the cat, which was in very bad shape, to his vehicle and placed a pediatric oxygen mask on him. This is a smaller mask made for an infant's mouth and therefore more helpful on the cat.

"This mask allows us to give a high concentration of oxygen which forced out the smoke from its lungs," said Holder adding, "It was a team effort that saved this cat's life."

While on the oxygen, Holder began cleaning the cat of debris from the fire. He cut the collar off and cut burnt plastic out of its fur. Its eyes and mouth were full of soot.

"He eventually started to come around and get more lively as time went on," said Holder.

Epley said once the cat was out they went back into the structure to finish what they do.

"I'm a big animal lover and I have a soft spot in my heart for them. When we were knocking the fire out it was calling for help and it tugs on you a little. Animals are someone's loved ones. We have three dogs and I would expect someone to do the same for us if our house was on fire and they were trapped inside."

Epley said the cat's family was very gracious and very appreciative for their help. The last time he spoke with them, they said they had taken the cat to the veterinary and it was doing okay. He still had a little cough but was expected to make a full recovery.