Peggy Lawson with the firefighters who came to the rescue of 10 baby ducklings. (Photo courtesy of Peggy Lawson.)

By Solomon Bristow

Firefighters are one of the busiest first responders, answering more than 140,000 calls every year in Hillsborough County alone. Like most jobs, however, there is always a brief period of down time. Firefighters at Hillsborough County Fire Rescue (HCFR) Station No. 7 were having one of these periods of down time when they received a call that was different from what they usually receive.

Peggy Lawson had been driving down Bloomingdale Avenue and turning into a parking lot when she noticed multiple people surrounding something. After she got closer, she saw that a group of ducklings had fallen through the gaps of a storm drain outside of the Shrimp Boat, located on Bloomindale Avenue, and became trapped. Mike Parot, the person who discovered the ducklings, suggested that HCFR Station No. 7 might be able to help the ducklings get back to their mama. Lawson drove down to the station and walked in.

“Hi, I am a home health nurse. I have dialed 911 to save the lives of several humans, so you guys owe me a favor. I need you to save the lives of 10 baby ducklings and a very frantic mama,” Lawson had said.

After receiving permission from the fire chief, the firefighters suited up and went to the ducklings. They removed the heavy grate and entered the drain, saving the ducklings one by one. After the first duckling was pulled out of the drain by the firefighters, the nine remaining ducklings were frightened and wandered further into the pipes at the bottom of the drain. The firefighters used a hose to gently wash the ducklings back to them, then continued to retrieve the ducklings. Soon after, the firefighters pulled all the ducklings out of the storm drain and returned them to the mama duck. All the ducks were taken to a pond behind Station No. 7 and released, safe from all storm drains in the area.

Even though firefighters are primarily known for their courage that is required for their primary duties, it is important to note that they contribute much more to communities than just that. The firefighters at HCFR Station No. 7 are a prime example of helping everyone in need, whether it’s helping a human or 10 little ducklings. HCFR Station No. 7 is located at 1310 E. Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico.

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