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PC Fire Department rises to occasion for life-saving challenge

It seemed like any other October night for the members of the Phil Campbell Fire Department – until a vehicle swerved into their parking lot and the air filled with the screams of a woman frantically asking someone to help her baby.

The men rose on high alert as they saw the woman pull from her vehicle a dog choking on a bone. Although this was not a typical situation for the Phil Campbell Fire Department, the officers on shift prepared for the task.

“We just knew we had to be the ones to do something,” said Assistant Fire Chief Eric Rice.

Rice said he and his crew alerted the 911 call center of their current situation and called the EMS service to see if anyone there could help.

After finding EMS was unavailable at that time, the firefighters called a local veterinarian for assistance with the procedure.

“I couldn’t get them, so I knew it was in our lap to see what we could do to help,” Rice said.

Rice said the firefighters moved the dog into the station and used a flashlight and pliers to remove the bone from the dog’s throat.

Fast forward a week, and the lucky canine is doing fine after recovering from its brush with danger.

“We were successful, so we were pretty proud of that,” Rice said. “It’s fulfilling. It’s all about doing the right thing and helping your neighbor.”

Although Rice admitted helping the dog was probably the most unusual thing he has done at the fire department, he said it is nice to know the community feels they can trust the fire department if they are ever in need.

“We do a wide variety of things the public never knows about,” said Phil Campbell Fire Chief Mike Rice. “We just want them to know they can call on us when they need us.”