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Firefighters rescue kitten from car's engine

Woman trying to help kitten ends up stuck when it becomes trapped in car

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – An attempt to catch a kitten that was loose on an interstate exit ramp turned into an hour-long effort to rescue the kitten after it became stuck in a car's engine.

The rescue effort eventually involved about 10 firefighters, along with the woman who initially stopped to help the kitten and another good Samaritan motorist.

The woman, Cassondra Nall, said that about 1 p.m. Monday she was driving back to her office from her lunch break when she spotted a tiny black kitten running back and forth on an Interstate 95 exit ramp. Nall said she pulled over to try to help, and it ran under her car.

She said she laid on the ground in her executive suit on the side of the road, trying to coax the kitten out from under her car. Another driver saw what was happening and stopped to help Nall by blocking the lane with his car to protect her and the kitten from passing traffic. 

Nall said the man also tried to lure the kitten out from under the car, but the kitten got scared and ran into the wheel well of Nall's car.

She said she immediately cut off the engine, but they could no longer hear the kitten's meows, so they were concerned it was hurt inside the engine.

Nall called Animal Control, but they are closed on Mondays. Then she called 911, because the cars were blocking a lane of traffic, and Nall said she couldn't start her car with a cat in the engine.

Nall said she and the other driver waited for about 20 minutes with no help as traffic whizzed by their cars, and they still couldn't hear or see the kitten in the engine.

Nall said two fire trucks were coming down the road and the man flagged them down. Several firefighters came out of the two trucks and spent about 20 minutes assessing the situation. No one could find the kitten, Nall said.

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Finally, one fireman lying on the ground under Nall's car caught a glimpse of the kitten in the wheel well. The firefighters decided to remove the tire, and the kitten was rescued. Nall filmed the final moments of the rescue and posted the video to her Facebook page.

"It was a pretty wild experience," Nall said in an email to News4Jax.

Nall (pictured, right) said the kitten was panting with heat exhaustion and dehydration, and the firefighters said they would take it back to their station and make sure it was OK.

Nall spoke Tuesday to News4Jax about the ordeal.

"It was pure adrenaline. I didn't have a chance to think I just was acting on instincts, overwhelmed with happiness that I knew the cat was in good hands and grateful that so many people stopped to help," Nall said.

She said she called their station later in the day, and they told her they gave the kitten some milk and that the Humane Society had come to pick it up.

The workers at the Jacksonville Humane Society named the kitten "Rotor." The kitten is now waiting to be adopted.