Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Clearwater firefighters respond to cheeps for help

CLEARWATER ­— Jessica Sargent was strolling through Glen Oaks Park on Monday when she heard the cheeping.

She followed it to a storm drain, near Court Street and S Hillcrest Avenue, where six brown and yellow ducklings were trapped inside.

"The duck was standing there squawking and the babies were just throwing a fit," said Sargent, 45, who works at a nearby accounting firm. "The holes were big enough for them to fall through, but too small for you to reach inside."

She called Clearwater Fire Station 45 at 12:30 p.m. and, within minutes, four firefighters arrived with crowbars.

A crowd gathered as Lt. Stephen Coward, Thomas Knobl, Steven Peters and David Sowers pried off the steel grating to rescue the ducklings.

"They were all so cute," Coward, 46, said. "You could tell they really wanted mom."

The firefighters grabbed three of the ducklings and placed them in a bird cage provided by an onlooker, who happened to keep one in the back of his SUV.

"I won't sleep until you get them all," Sargent said, watching.

Coward crouched inside the 2-foot-deep drain to catch the other three, who'd wandered deeper underground. Luckily, he said, it was dry.

"When we got them out, everyone was overjoyed. People clapped," he said.

Coward, who has worked as a Clearwater firefighter for 17 years, said the firehouse annually receives "a handful" of distressed animal calls. He has helped save kittens from pipes, domestic cockatiels from trees.

"The secretary who got the call yesterday asked us, 'Do you guys want to go be heroes today?' " he said.

After the 20-minute rescue, the ducklings reunited with mom and waddled into the park.

Danielle Paquette can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4224.

Clearwater firefighters respond to cheeps for help 02/05/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 8:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trump offered a grieving military father $25,000 in a call, but didn't follow through


    President Donald Trump, in a personal phone call to a grieving military father, offered him $25,000 and said he would direct his staff to establish an online fundraiser for the family, but neither happened, the father said.

    President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting  with members of the Senate Finance Committee and his economic team on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017 at the White House in Washington, D.C. [Pool photo by Chris Kleponis | Getty Images]
  2. State House leader Corcoran urges Congress to back Trump tax cuts


    TAMPA — At a time when President Donald Trump's relations with Congress grow frayed, state House Speaker Richard Corcoran lined up solidly with Trump Tuesday in urging Congress members from Florida to back the president's tax-cutting legislation.

    Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran backs the supply-side economic theory that cutting federal taxes for business owners would result in more jobs for others. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  3. Tampa's Oaklawn Cemetery placed on National Register of Historic Places

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — Oaklawn Cemetery, Tampa's first public graveyard, has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

    Tampa's Oaklawn and neighboring St. Louis cemeteries just north of downtown have been added to the National Register of  Historic Places. LUIS SANTANA   |   Times
  4. Romano: Love to hear your Nazi speech, but I'm washing my hair

    Human Interest

    A year ago, he was racism's favorite twerp.

    Richard Spencer, center in sunglasses, and his supporters clash with Virginia State Police after hundreds of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" clashed with anti-fascist protesters and police in August in Charlottesville, Va. [Getty Images]
  5. Editorial: More work needed to stem juvenile car thefts


    There is more bad news than good about Pinellas County's juvenile car theft epidemic. The good news is that arrests ticked down slightly last year — a sign that law enforcement may be beginning to contain the problem. The bad: Reports of stolen vehicles in Pinellas are up this year, and the problem may be …

    There is more bad news than good about Pinellas County’s juvenile car theft epidemic.