Cat survives after zap from power line
August 18, 2005
GARDNERVILLE – A hunting trip cost a cat a third of his nine lives on Wednesday when, while apparently stalking a bird’s nest, he came in contact with a 25,000-volt power line, caught fire, fell off a 40-foot pole and set a brush fire.
The cat was discovered after emergency medical technician/ firefighters Andrew Chrzanowski and Jeremy Hall responded to the fire 10 a.m. Wednesday.
Hall said they found out about the problem when the lights went out at the Topaz Ranch Estates Fire House.
“We walked outside and one of the GID guys outside said the transformer just blew,” Hall said. “We went back inside and happened to look out a window and see the fire.”
At the base of the power pole at Highway 208 and Albite was a 100-square-foot fire, which Hall and Chrzanowski quickly extinguished. “When we got the fire knocked down we saw this burned cat close to the base of the pole,” he said. “We assumed that it was dead, but then Ski noticed it was breathing and it started watching us.”
At that point Chrzanowski put the cat on a blanket and administered oxygen. “We both thought that with the amount of burns he had he wasn’t going to make it, but then we started to look more closely and we saw it was all superficial. The fire just burned all his hair off.”
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Hall said he and Chrzanowski are pretty certain the cat was on the pole, because a nest was found on top and there was a large black spot where something had made contact with the relay switch that knocked the power out.
In a similar incident this month in South Lake Tahoe, a squirrel on wires atop a power pole was electrocuted, caught fire, and started a small blaze when it fell to the ground. The incident caused a widespread power outage. The squirrel did not survive.
Animal Control officer Janet Duzan said she doesn’t know who the cat belongs to and will have a hard time describing it.
“He looks like he is black and white, but it is hard to tell if he is a long-hair or a short-hair,” she said. “Basically he is a young male cat. It is rare we can reunite kitties with their owners.”
Veterinarian Steve Talbot of Carson Valley Veterinary Hospital examined the cat and told Duzan that it appeared he will make a full recovery.
“The doctor said it looks like he was in a flash fire and got singed from head to toe,” Duzan said.
She thanked the two firefighters who saved him.
“They are just really, really nice guys,” she said.
Anyone interested in adopting the cat may call Animal Control at (775) 782-9061.