Two raccoons were able to scamper away safely from a warehouse fire in South Bend, Indiana, thanks to the ladder work of the city’s fire department.
“Some people would ask, ‘Why save the raccoons?’” the department wrote in a Facebook post featuring video shot by bystander Paul Bierwagen. “Life safety and property conservation are two priorities on a fire scene. Thanks to our crews for taking a few minutes to let the raccoons escape.”
The video shows two raccoons descending ladders propped against a brick building as smoke billows behind them. As each raccoon springs off the ladders to the ground, children can be heard clapping and cheering.
In a comment under the Facebook post, the fire department explained that the way the ladders are stacked is called “ladder splicing” and is a technique mountaineers also use.
The blaze began on Sunday evening and was briefly rekindled on Monday morning, according to the South Bend Tribune. Fire investigators told the paper that the building, which was being used for appliance and mattress storage, was “a total loss.”
South Bend Mayor and 2020 Democratic hopeful Pete Buttigieg tweeted thanks to the firefighters for their work battling two different fires in recent days, and he made a special point of mentioning the raccoon rescue.
As for the raccoons, their current whereabouts are unclear. When a Facebook user asked whether the animals had been “questioned,” Fire Captain Brandon Roark responded, “they fled the scene, our investigators would like to speak to them.”