Dublin firefighters ‘turned cat burglar’ on Sunday to gain entry to a cat rescue centre after workers locked themselves out.
The Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) Rope Rescue Team used a winch to lower themselves into the centre after staff couldn’t get in to feed the kittens.
The charity’s staff found themselves locked out after a power failure in the building – and the DFB hi-line team came to the rescue.
This morning, DFB spokesman David Connolly told Newstalk how it all went down.
“Yesterday, we got a call to go to an animal shelter in Phibsborough,” he said. “There were kittens in need of help because there had been a local power cut in the area.
“The staff couldn’t access the animal shelter because the only way in was through a roller shutter operated by a powered motor.”
Mr Connolly said the staff had already been working with engineers to try and fix the doors and only called in emergency services when all else failed.
“We arrived down and we had a chat with the owners,” he said. “It turns out the only way into this premises was through the roller shutter or through the big steel fire door which can only be opened from the inside.
“We had a look around a carried out a 360-degree recce of the building and the only way we could get in was through a secure skylight up on the roof.”
He said the DFB has a specialist rope rescue team based in the area that normally responds to rescues that involve dangerous heights or the need to access difficult areas.
“They got up on the roof and they did their work,” he said. “They removed a little bit of the Perspex and some of the security grating.
“I think they probably watched one too many milk tray ads through their childhoods and they climbed down into the animal shelter and then rescued the kittens.”
He said the cats were quite surprised to see firefighter Pete Conroy entering through the roof.
“When the cats saw the little bit of commotion with us coming though the roof, we could see them there and they were all looking up wondering what was going on,” he said.
“They were saying, we’re usually the ones doing the climbing, what’s going on here.
“We sent in our most athletic firefighter Peter Conroy. He was the skinniest and could squeeze through the tight hole.
“So, they were delighted to see him and you can see from the pictures they were licking him and meowing and cooing over him.”
After Mr Conroy opened the doors form the inside the fire crew helped the charity to feed the cats.
“It is a nice ending to a rescue because so often, we do work that has a sad outcome,” he said.
“That’s just the nature of fire rescue but it is nice to have a story like this where there is a good outcome and it’s nice happy ending.”
Mr Connolly took the opportunity to remind everyone to check their smoke alarms once a week and close their internal doors at night before they go to bed.
You can donate to Phibsboro Cat Rescue here.
With reporting from Tom Douglas.