When Susan Miller of Mango Park arrived at the West Manatee Fire Rescue Administration building early Wednesday morning to ask for assistance with the rescue of ducklings trapped in a storm drain, firefighters jumped into action. The firefighters from Station 4 arrived in the 2000 block of 91st Street NW to a mother duck walking frantically around a storm drain. Firefighters could hear the ducklings chirping in the drain. Manhole covers on both sides of the road were removed and Lt. Jeff Lonzo located the two ducklings in a pipe between the road and a retention pond.
It was determined that the discharge pipe at the pond was severely clogged for the ducklings to escape on their own. Firefighters began removing debris from the discharge pipe, hoping to make a large enough opening for the ducklings to escape.
With all the work at the discharge pipe, the ducklings moved back to the area of the storm drain. Firefighters flowed water on one side of the street with a garden hose, while Captain Ryan Moore used a crab net to try and catch the ducklings. The first duckling was able to avoid the crab net and was quickly moved passed a temporary barriers placed in front of the pipes. Meanwhile, Lt. Lonzo was able to catch one of the ducklings by hand in the manhole. That duckling was released to the mother duck who was at the retention pond. A few minutes later, the second duckling popped out of the discharge pipe and swam to its mother.
Miller was appreciative of the quick response and described the crew as “kind, gentle and compassionate with the little ducks”.