FDNY hero rescues kitten stuck in car engine: ‘Every life is important’


Sometimes being NYC’s bravest isn’t about putting out big, bad, fires — it’s about rescuing cute, little kitties.

FDNY firefighter Anthony Caliendo is being lauded as a local hero after rescuing a kitten stuck inside a Toyota in Queens on Monday.

It was during a 9/11 commemoration ceremony that a driver flagged down members of Ladder 158 in Springfield Gardens over fears that there was an animal stuck in their vehicle, Lt. Robert Schlaffer told The Post.

“He said, ‘I think I have an animal in my engine,’” Schlaffer recalled. “It’s not the weirdest thing we’ve ever heard.”

Caliendo, 27, of Lindenhurst was seen on camera, along with a team of fellow firefighters, rescuing the little critter out of a space between a pan holding up its fuel tank and wheel well. However, they had to improvise as the poor creature, no larger than a pair of hands, struggled to escape the confined space.

“There was some kind of bar pinning it down and keeping it from getting out,” Caliendo, also a former Marine and new father, said. “We used Dawn dish soap and lathered him all up and eventually I was able to pull the kitten out.”


FDNY member Anthony Caliendo is being cheered on after rescuing a kitten from a car.
FDNY member Anthony Caliendo is being cheered on after rescuing a kitten from a car.
FDNY

Long Island's Anthony Caliendo is a former Marine.
Long Island’s Anthony Caliendo is a former Marine.
FDNY

Firefighters Chris Lyons, Dwayne Campbell, John Moravek and Claudius Caines were also credited for the impromptu operation, which had several complications.

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Luckily, Caliendo and the crew know a thing or two about cars, a skill that helped during the rescue.

“We had to take off the tire with a jack that off and then started taking [more pieces] apart, were lucky enough to have a couple of guys that were mechanically inclined,” Schlaffer added, saying the whole procedure took about 20 minutes.


Anthony Caliendo (left center) and his colleagues at the FDNY rescued a cat stuck in a car engine outside of their Queens firehouse.
Firefighter Claudius Caines, John (Jack) Moravek, Anthony Caliendo, Lt. Robert Schlaffer, Chris Lyons and Dwayne Campbell at the FDNY rescued a cat stuck in a car engine outside of their Queens firehouse.
FDNY

“I’m not saying it was NASCAR pit crew, but everything we do is with a sense of urgency…if he kept driving that cat wouldn’t have made it, there’s no way.”

Fortunately, the furball is now under the permanent care of a fellow firefighter of Engine 311, a company that shares its house with Ladder 158.

“Being a firefighter is a three-step process: find the problem, identify the problem, solve the problem. I think Anthony and the guys executed that very well,” Schlaffer said. “Every life is important. So we take the time to do it as best we can.”


FDNY members moved swiftly to rescue a cat stuck inside a car engine.
FDNY members moved swiftly to rescue a cat stuck inside a car engine.
FDNY

Caliendo and company are now being praised online for their swift actions as one commented they are “truly heroes” on an FDNY video of the rescue.

“Heartwarming story. Thank God for FDNY,” added another.





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