Friday, February 23, 2018
News Roundup

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.

Comments
Winter Olympics: Alina Zagitova wins figure skating gold, Russia’s first of Games

Winter Olympics: Alina Zagitova wins figure skating gold, Russia’s first of Games

GANGNEUNG, South Korea  — The Russians finally have a gold medal at the  Olympics, thanks to a 15-year-old who beat the fellow teen who inspired her to become a figure skater.Alina Zagitova won one of the Games' spotlight events Frida...
Updated: 3 hours ago

High school scoreboard for Feb. 22

Thursday’s scoreboardSoftballBoca Ciega 4, Pinellas Park 2Admiral Farragut 7, Northside Christian 1Boys tennisOsceola 7, Dixie Hollins 0Clearwater Central Cath. 4, Jesuit 3Girls tennisOsceola 7, Dixie Hollins 0Boys basketballClass 3A, region semifina...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Deputy ‘never went in’ during Parkland school shooting. There were other failures, too

Deputy ‘never went in’ during Parkland school shooting. There were other failures, too

Eight days after mass shooter Nikolas Cruz murdered 17 people inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Broward’s top cop on Thursday revealed a stunning series of failures by the sheriff’s department.A school campus cop heard the gunfire, rushed ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
A case for wild flamingos calling Florida their home

A case for wild flamingos calling Florida their home

In 2015, Conchy the flamingo showed up at Florida’s Naval Air Station Key West, and he wouldn’t leave. Normally, managers on the grounds lethally remove feathered troublemakers — it can be very dangerous with birds flying around million-dollar fighte...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Updated: 7 hours ago
Florida man yells ‘murderers!’ as he’s executed for slaying

Florida man yells ‘murderers!’ as he’s executed for slaying

Associated PressSTARKE — An inmate convicted of raping and killing a college student decades ago screamed and yelled "murderers!" three times, thrashing on a gurney as he was being put to death Thursday. The governor’s office said Eric Scott Branch, ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
After Parkland, another plea for rumor control: ‘This is not a joke’ (w/video)

After Parkland, another plea for rumor control: ‘This is not a joke’ (w/video)

ST. PETERSBURG — The mayor and the police chief came to Northeast High on Thursday to warn students about the dangers of circulating rumors of school safety threats on social media.While they were there, one of those unfounded rumors popped up on Fac...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Administrator Haley Loeun fired from CareerSource jobs centers

Administrator Haley Loeun fired from CareerSource jobs centers

Haley Loeun, a top aide to the embattled leader of the Pinellas and Hillsborough jobs boards, was fired Thursday from her $130,000-a-year position as business services director.Loeun came under criticism after the Tampa Bay Times reported that employ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
V.M. Ybor: That’s not cigar smoke you’re smelling

V.M. Ybor: That’s not cigar smoke you’re smelling

TAMPA — Across Interstate 4 from Ybor City’s nightlife, another part of the historic neighborhood has an odor less nostalgic — and much less pleasant — than cigar smoke and roasting coffee beans.V.M. Ybor, named after the Spaniard who founded the cit...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Mattis expected to back allowing transgender troops to stay in the military

Mattis expected to back allowing transgender troops to stay in the military

WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is expected to propose to President Donald Trump that transgender members of the U.S. military be allowed to continue serving despite the president’s call last summer for a ban on all transgender service, acc...
Updated: 10 hours ago