When a wildfire broke out near Key Deer National Preserve in Key West, Florida, in late April, humans and pets weren’t the only only ones firefighters ushered out of harm’s way.
Monroe County Fire Rescue firefighter Jen Shockley Brack was among those who fought the blaze, whose intensity was fueled by trees felled by Hurricane Irma. She and her team were holding the fire line when she spotted a fawn, its mother nowhere in sight, who was completely and understandably terrified.
“He was scared to death and his little legs were shaking,” she recalled.
Jen could barely stand to watch as the young deer bolted directly toward the smoke and flames, and, despite the risks to her own safety, told a coworker she was going after him: “I saw his big eyes and he was so scared and trembling, I just had to get him. He was all by himself and running for his life into the fire.”
Fortunately, he hadn’t gotten far and, as she approached, seemed to sense she wanted to help. He hunkered down beneath a bush that was already in flames, but she scooped him up in her arms and carried him back to safety.
Inside the truck, he was given a checkup, food and water — and, of course, posed for some pictures.
From this vantage point, he had a better chance of spotting the rest of his herd and probably would’ve preferred to stay put until he spotted them…
Ma? Hey, where’d you go?
But policy at the refuge requires that all animals remain in the wild, so the little guy was released once the firefighters had snuffed out the flames. Thanks to the firefighters, though, the fire was contained in a relatively small area, and the fawn rejoined the rest of the herd with quite a tale to tell.
A big thanks goes out to Jen and the rest of her crew for ensuring the safety of all creatures great and small. Share to warm some hearts!