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 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. Tampa Bay Times honored for top investigative story in Gerald Loeb annual business awards


    The Tampa Bay Times was a co-winner in the investigative category for one of the highest honors in business journalism.

    Tampa Bay Times current and former staff writers William R. Levesque, Nathaniel Lash and Anthony Cormier were honored in the investigative category for their coverage of "Allegiant Air" in the 60th Anniversary Gerald Loeb Awards for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism. 


  2. Pasco woman gives birth to child fathered by 11 year old, deputies say


    A Port Richey woman was arrested Tuesday, nearly three years after deputies say she gave birth to a child fathered by an 11-year-old boy.

    Marissa Mowry, 25, was arrested Tuesday on charges she sexually assaulted an 11-year-old and gave birth to his child. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  3. For good of the Rays, Tim Beckham should embrace move to second

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — The acquisition of slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria said a lot of things, most notably that the Rays are serious about making in-season moves to bolster their chances to make the playoffs, with a reliever, or two, next on the shopping list.

    PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 27:  Tim Beckham #1 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates with teammates after scoring during the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on June 27, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) 700011399
  4. St. Petersburg showdown: Kriseman faces Baker for first time tonight at the Rev. Louis Murphy Sr.'s church

    Local Government

    A standing-room-only crowd packed a Midtown church banquet hall Tuesday to witness the first face-off between Mayor Rick Kriseman and former mayor Rick Baker in what is a watershed mayoral contest in the city's history.

    Former Mayor Rick Baker, left, is challenging incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman, right, to become St. Petersburg mayor.
  5. At College World Series, the save goes to an LSU dad/doctor


    OMAHA, Neb. — The father of LSU pitcher Jared Poche' helped revive an 87-year-old man who was slumped on the TD Ameritrade Park concourse with no pulse during Game 1 of the College World Series finals.

    UF’s Nelson Maldonado, left, and Deacon Liput high-five in Tuesday’s late CWS Game 2.