Sometimes you come across a story and the opening line makes you do a double take just to make sure you read it correctly. That is just what happened when I saw this story about the Duluth Fire Department building a ladder to help a raccoon escape a tricky situation.

The story originated from Wildwoods, a nonprofit organization based in Duluth whose goal is to care for animals.

According to their Facebook page, their specific goals are:

  • To provide humane care for sick, injured, and orphaned wildlife, with the ultimate goal of return to the wild
  • To provide wild animals a dignified life while in our care and, if necessary, a dignified ending to that life
  • To be a resource for people who find wild animals in need
  • To foster understanding and appreciation of, as well as respectful coexistence with our wild neighbors
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Last weekend, a staff member at Wildwoods was out for a walk with their dog when they noticed something unusual. As they approached a storm drain they spotted a raccoon who, upon being noticed, disappeared into one of the pipes.

The assumption was that with construction taking place nearby, the raccoon must've slipped into the storm drain at the construction site while workers had it open to complete their project.

Throughout the weekend, the Wildwoods staff member kept checking the storm drain with the goal of getting the raccoon out of this predicament. Finally, on Saturday afternoon it was was once again spotted. Likely tired, hungry and thirsty, the raccoon was sleeping. This provided the perfect change to call for help.

With the help of the St Louis County dispatcher, Duluth Fire Department Station 8 came and lifted the grate and helped to build a ladder for the raccoon. Of course, with all of this commotion, the raccoon had once again sought protection in one of the pipes.
Fire Captain Brian Black and his crew were quite invested in this raccoon and said it was fine for me to leave the grate open and stand watch until the raccoon left, and to then replace the grate.

The story has a happy ending as after three hours, when it was once again dark outside, the raccoon emerged at the top of the ladder. Freed from the storm drain at last, it looked around a bit and then disappeared into bushes.

The Wildwoods staff member who shared the story made sure to thank Lulu the dog, their neighbor Gail for bringing the supplies, St Louis County Dispatch, and Fire Station 8. This was definitely a team effort!

The Duluth Fire Department also shared this adventure on their Facebook page, noting the were happy to help and also glad to hear the story had a happy ending.

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