Firefighters Battle Huge Blaze, Rescue Terrified Raccoons

The massive warehouse fire drove cowering raccoons to the roof.

The call came in as a massive fire at a commercial building. 

Jordan Warfield of the South Bend Fire Department in Indiana remembers seeing pitch-black smoke pouring into the sky and hearing huge detonations that sounded like cars exploding.

At the scene, Warfield said her crew got busy dragging hoses and hooking them to water tanks. Then, up on the roof, they saw two cowering figures.

They were raccoons. "They were just kind of huddled in the corner," Warfield told A crowd had gathered to watch the huge blaze, and all eyes were on the stranded critters.

"Some people would ask, 'Why save the raccoons?'" the fire department wrote on its Facebook page, next to a video of the raccoon rescue captured by a bystander. "Life, safety and property conservation are two priorities on a fire scene. Thanks to our crews for taking a few minutes to let the raccoons escape."

Warfield said her captain retrieved two ladders, and firefighters stacked them on top of each other to reach the second-story roof. 

But the four-legged refugees wanted nothing to do with the humans coming to their rescue.

"They really didn't trust us," Warfield said. "We left the ladders alone and they figured it out and climbed down themselves."

It only took a few minutes for the raccoons to understand their escape route. "Once one of them reached out and touched it, they both scampered down," she said.

Those assembled clapped and cheered. "They were very happy when the raccoons escaped," Warfield said.

The animals, however, didn't stick around to pay their respects.

"They kind of decided, 'I am out of here,''' Warfield recounted. "That is the last we ever saw of them. ... We were able to save a few lives in this fire," she added, laughing.