Firefighters use Jaws of Life to rescue deer stuck in gate

By Patty Hastings, Columbian breaking news reporter

Published:

Updated: June 4, 2013, 6:06 PM

 

Firefighters used the Jaws of Life on Tuesday afternoon to rescue a deer that was stuck in a metal gate at a residence in Ridgefield.

Homeowner Tonya Snyder saw a couple of deer eating apples in her yard and shooed them away. One of the deer, however, tried to run through an automatic gate and ended up wedged between its metal bars, said Battalion Chief Tim Dawdy, spokesman for Clark County Fire & Rescue.

Initially, La Center police were dispatched to 31800 N.W. Ninth St. at 12:47 p.m. The animal was bucking enough to raise the gate a few inches, Dawdy said. Officers decided they needed more help and called Clark County Animal Protection and Control along with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, but no one was available nearby to assist. Meanwhile, the second deer looked on from some nearby bushes.

“We called the fire department to come on up, hoping the big fire truck wouldn't scare her too bad,” Snyder said. “Luckily, it didn’t.”

By the time CCF&R arrived, the deer was worn out and had stopped thrashing. Firefighter-paramedic Dave Bridges used the Jaws of Life — a tool typically used for difficult extrications after a traffic accident — to spread the bars apart and free the deer. The deer immediately bounded away with the second deer.

"The firefighters were delighted they were able to save the deer," Dawdy said.

The animal suffered bad abrasions to his sides from being stuck between the bars.