“We normally go to fires, medical emergencies and respond to natural disasters. And we [sometimes] respond to animal rescues. But yes, the mountain lion was unusual,” said Capt. Steve Parish, Glendale Fire Dept. Station 24.
Parish referred to his station’s response to last month to a mountain lion sighting and capture in the 3300 blocks of Thelma Street and Fairmount Avenue.
The mountain lion was seen walking down New York Avenue until it finally took a rest under a shady tree in the backyard of a home on Thelma Street. The Dept. of Fish and Game responded and shot one tranquilizer into the animal.
The mountain lion, drugged but still moving, jumped over fences and stumbled through some yards before crawling under the wooden patio of a home on Fairmount Avenue.
“It is interesting how we got the call,” Parish said. “It was primarily a Fish and Game call, and Glendale police.”
GPD’s Lt. Bruce Fox had responded and officers were blocking streets, making certain Marty Wall from Fish and Game could tranquilize the mountain lion safely.
Glendale Fire was called in to assist.
“When we first saw the animal, it was under a [patio] deck,” Parish said.
Although tranquilized, the mountain lion was still moving and somewhat awake. Wall tranquilized the animal again and then it was GFD’s turn.
They were tasked with crawling under the deck and pulling the mountain lion out onto a tarp where they could transport it to the waiting Fish and Game vehicle.
Firefighters are used to dealing with unusual situations, and a confined space shared with a mountain lion was unusual, though not overly unique.
“We deal with [a lot of different] situations. It doesn’t faze us much,” Parish said.
Glendale firefighters have been called on several animal rescues including assisting with a dog rescue in Deukmejian Wilderness Park and several horse rescues.
“We [assisted] with a horse rescue in Griffith Park. One of the guys on my crew was a cowboy,” he said.
He knew how to handle a horse and the rescue was a success.
“We have a wide variety of experience on our crews,” Parish added.
Though mountain lion wrangling is a little out of the range of expertise, the crewmembers assessed the situation and brought the animal to the Fish and Game truck.
Parish added that the homeowner was very helpful. He told Parish and his crew that if they needed to cut the patio they could, he just wanted the animal protected. During the hunt and tranquilizing, a large crowd of community members gathered to watch.
“The citizens were truly interested in the mountain lion’s safety,” Parish said.
Luckily the mountain lion was safely transported back into the Angeles National Forest.
For GFD it may have been an unusual call out, but still just another day on the job.