— -- A Florida firefighter has taken in a kitten she rescued from inside a home’s walls, and it is not the first time she has taken home a pet she saved.
Tara Holcomb, 30, a seven-year veteran of the Mount Dora Fire Department, responded to a call March 30 from homeowners who thought there was a cat in their home’s chimney.
“We got there and the homeowners had tried to get the cat out because they heard it crying but couldn’t find it,” Holcomb told ABC News. “They had cut a little inspection hole in the wall of an upstairs bedroom next to the chimney and used a flashlight to look in but couldn’t see anything.”
Holcomb says she could not see anything inside the hole either so she stuck her hand in and originally thought she had found something much worse: a rat.
“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh,’” Holcomb recalled.
Instead, Holcomb had found the newborn kitten that had fallen into a void space in the wall.
“I pulled it out and it was just a tiny kitten that didn’t have its eyes open or anything,” she said.
How the kitten got into the home’s structure remains a mystery because the homeowners do not have any pets.
“We’re not positive, of course, but we’re thinking the mom was in the attic and the baby was in between the drywall and just couldn’t get out,” said Holcomb, who said she and her colleagues searched and found no evidence of more kittens or the mom cat in the home's attic or walls.
Holcomb says animal control officers instructed the homeowners to put the cat on their back porch – with a heating pad and some milk – to see if its mother would return. When the mother did not return, the homeowners, who are allergic to cats, searched for a home for the kitten.
“Originally they thought they found a home with a friend but as I was leaving work the next day, they called and told me it fell through and asked if I would want the cat,” said Holcomb. “I said, ‘Yes,’ and turned around and got him.”
Holcomb, appropriately, named the kitten, a boy, Wall-E.
Wall-E is now being taken care of by Holcomb along with another cat the firefighter rescued nearly two years ago.
“We had a cat that was stuck in a tree and when we were trying to get it out it fell and was limping,” Holcomb said. “I took that one home and adopted it.”
“So they’re all laughing at me that whenever we go on a pet rescue you’re going to adopt it,” Holcomb said of her fellow firefighters.