Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue Lt. Drew Murdock (front) and firefighter Donald Allen carry two baby ducks back to their home pond to join their mother after the ducks slipped into a storm drain.
Photo by Valerie Rowell
Six baby ducks waddled to the water's edge, jumped in and glided smoothly to their mother, where they safely nestled against her feathers.
The ducks, thought to be native Georgia wood ducks, were reunited with their mother Monday after Martinez firefighters spent more than 2 hours searching for the ducklings in underground storm drains in Springlakes subdivision.
"Those ducks got to ride on the fire truck," Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue Chief Doug Cooper said at the scene. "Not too many ducks get to ride on a fire truck."
Jean Spaur's home, in the 4200 block of Stone Mill Court, backs up to a small pond, where she said the ducks were born only days before the incident.
"I feed them every day," she said.
When Spaur returned from taking her daughter to school Monday, the mother duck was squawking loudly, so she knew something was wrong.
Spaur said she could hear the ducklings chirping from under the deck over a pond's overflow drain entrance. She said she grabbed her emergency second-story fire ladder and slid through the opening, barely two feet wide, to save them.
Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue Chief Doug Cooper hands firefighter Keith Conner his helmet before descending into the overflow drain of a Springlakes subdivision pond to rescue six baby ducks who were trapped in the drain. "We've saved a lot of things in my years," said Assistant Chief James Champion.
Photo by Valerie Rowell
"I was the first man in the hole," Spaur said, adding that she couldn't find all the ducks because the drain continues underground and under nearby roads, where it connects to the stormwater drainage system. "I got back out and was thinking, 'What can I do?'"
Spaur called county officials. Martinez-Columbia firefighters arrived at the scene and got to work quickly.
"She called the fire department, and here we are,'' Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue Assistant Chief James Champion said from the dock. "... We've saved a lot of things in my years."
Firefighters spent more than 2 hours crawling through the overflow drains looking for the ducklings. Four were found in the first hour. The search continued for the other two until they were rescued from a storm drain on nearby Woodcreek Drive and returned to their mother.
Maner Building Supply custom cut and donated wire mesh to place over the overflow drain opening until the ducks get older and larger, Cooper said.
Spaur said she enjoys the wildlife at the pond, especially the ducks.
"I'm out here daily. This is my haven," Spaur said. "I hate that I caused all this, but I'm glad to have the ducks back."
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.