Heartwarming cat rescue stories often involve a feline being scooped up from some nefarious or dangerous situation and going on to live a calm and contented life in a domestic forever home. But in some cases, these kitties in need end up taking on a far more active and involved role at their new digs — like becoming a local fire station’s resident cat.
Along with increasing the morale of the squad, the role of a firehouse cat is an esteemed position that involves letting pesky vermin know to stay well away from fire department headquarters. As a salute to those cats who have chosen to take on a life dedicated to public service, let’s meet a revered quartet of intrepid firehouse felines.
The most well-known firehouse cat, Flame was originally discovered when workers at the Belmont Fire Department in Greenville, South Carolina, heard a stream of continuous meows coming from behind the station. After a quick investigation, they discovered “a small, malnourished cat hunkered down in the grass,” as fire engineer Jordan Lide told the Cat Daddies documentary last year.
Duly rescued, Flame, known as “The Arson Cat,” quickly took to life as the station’s resident feline — and staff even noticed how the confident ginger kitty actually seemed to lower the collective stress levels of the crew. Although, let’s diplomatically gloss over a subsequent incident where the inquisitive Flame managed to get himself stuck inside a 12-inch storm drain running below the firehouse’s parking lot.
Scout is a plucky tortoiseshell who has become a beloved fixture of the Ladder 7 firehouse in New York City. Originally announcing herself on social media back in 2019 by posing for a selfie in a knitted red firefighter’s hat, Scout has since gone on to take responsibility for the firehouse’s Engine 16. Naturally, on Scout’s watch, proper fire truck maintenance seems to very much involve napping on the vehicle.
Unfortunately, Scout caused a scare in March of 2021, when she appeared to go missing from the firehouse. Thankfully she was successfully found and has been able to return to her duties as a proud firecat.
Located in the Wissinoming neighborhood of Northeast Philadelphia, Engine 52 houses a cocksure gray-and-white firehouse cat named Burkey. Along with making daily spot checks on the fire crew’s engine, Burkey has been entrusted with official vermin control responsibilities in a bid to keep the firehouse sanitary. As a recent caption to an Instagram post proudly claimed: “City pest contractors can’t compete with her mice kill record.”
Residing at the New York City Fire Department Ladder 13 station house in the Yorkville neighborhood of Manhattan, Carlow is a cat who is not short on confidence. This white-and-ginger chap bills himself on social media as the “O.G. of firehouse cats” and claims, “I don’t do baths but I do love treats.”
According to lore, Carlow’s origin story involves being discovered hiding away inside a tire in a mechanic’s shop while he was still a wandering kitten, before taking up a position at the firehouse. These days, Carlow’s formal firehouse duties involve nothing less than embracing the grand responsibility to “oversee everyone and everything.” As for Carlow’s moniker? He’s named after the firehouse’s favorite local pub.