Written by Michael Crowe, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
LINN COUNTY (KWWL) -
The fire started in the basement Sunday night.
It spread quickly through the rural Troy Mills home, burning through most of 11-year-old Parker Gallagher's toys and clothes.
"Yeah, I lost almost everything," Gallagher said.
The family got out safely, but Gallagher's kitten, Wuzzy, was trapped inside.
When the tiny, lifeless cat was finally pulled from the smoke-filled home, it was brought it to Deputy Sheriff's Paramedic Ben Brink.
He ran to his truck, and grabbed an oxygen mask.
"I laid the kitten on the ground, it wasn't moving," Brink said. "I started squeezing its paw a little to stimulate it to breathe."
He'd never tried to revive a cat before, but he gave it his best shot.
"And then eventually it rolled over on its belly, and started to bite the mask," Brink said.
Gallagher's kitten was one the few things that escaped the fire, all because of Brink.
"I couldn't thank him enough," Gallagher said.
Brink's quick thinking was the silver lining on a very dark day. He was just happy he could help.
"They obviously had a bad situation with their house," he said. "So it was good to give them something good back."
As the family starts to rebuild, Gallagher was so happy to have his cat back that he has decided to give her a new name.
"Since this happened we decided to name her smokey," he said.
The family is living with friends as they recover from the fire. They said they are accepting donations at Farmer's State Bank in Albernett, and at the University of Iowa Credit Union in Marion, under "Care of Mark and Becky Rawson."
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