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Ducklings rescued, with help from Fairview Township firefighters

ERIN JAMES
YorkDispatch

This wasn't Jeff Severance's first trip around a chirping storm drain.

For the 10 ducklings trapped below ground Thursday morning, it's a good thing the assistant fire chief of the Fairview Township Fire Department knew what he was doing.

The call came in around 6:45 a.m. A resident in the 100 block of Pin Oak Drive had made two observations.

One, the family of ducks that had moved into the neighborhood seemed to be missing.

Secondly, there was the faint sound of chirping in the storm drain.

Severance and a few other volunteer firefighters responded, as they frequently do when residents call 911 for help rescuing animals in distress.

"Believe it or not, this is not my first duckling rescue. This is my third one," Severance said.

With the benefit of previous experience, the firefighters sprang into action. Members of the local police and sewer departments also showed up to assist.

Because the ducklings were out of reach, the firefighters gently poured water into the storm drain.

One by one, the ducklings floated downstream toward a waiting net.

"The mom was keeping watch on us," Severance said. "She would land and then fly around us and then land again."

A crowd of neighbors also stood by to offer support for the firefighters and the newest residents of the neighborhood.

Within an hour, each of the ducklings was free from the drain and placed safely into a cardboard box.

The firefighters took the ducklings to a nearby field where their mother had been during the rescue.

"Then mom came back, and I guess she scolded them," Severance said.

With such an attentive mother, how did 10 ducklings end up in a storm drain? That question remains.

"There's no telling how they got there," Severance said.

— Reach Erin James at ejames@yorkdispatch.com.