An unlucky duckling waddled its way into an underground Las Vegas storm drain Friday.
But with the help of a good Samaritan and a crew of city firefighters and animal rescue staff, this little bird’s fortune looked up.
Rena Hughes was helping a mother duck and her eight babies cross a street in Los Prados, a north valley golf-course neighborhood near North Rancho Drive and West Lone Mountain Road about 8:30 a.m. Eight members of the brood made it safely across.
But then — bloop — one duckling missed its hop onto the curb and fell into the drain.
After trying to get the web-footed bird out for an hour, Hughes, a family law attorney by trade, sought the help of Las Vegas fire station No. 9.
Fortunately, Hughes said, firefighters were not out on human emergency calls.
“They had no pressing business so they worked in the storm drain for another hour with animal control,” said Hughes, who also is running for Family Court judge against incumbent Kenneth Pollock.
Finally, they added water and a net to the effort. They created a downstream flow to wash the duckling from a second sewer grate into a net, Fire Rescue spokesman Tim Szymanski said.
The duckling then was reunited with its paddling — the name of a swimming group of ducks — in the neighborhood pond.
It was already a rough day for Hughes, who said her cat had to be euthanized Friday. She just couldn’t witness another animal’s death.
“I’m grateful for these good people,” Hughes said of firefighters Cliff Robinson, Chris Banks and Ryan Dalton and animal rescue worker Julie Weaver, adding that they fought through the heat trying to liberate the scared bird.
This isn’t Las Vegas Fire and Rescue’s first duckling rescue of the year. Firefighters from station No. 44 plucked a baby duck from another drain on April 29 after three visitors from Nashville, Tenn., spotted the mishap.
Szymanski said the fire department is equipped for animal rescues and to assist animal control, but with some rules.
Department protocol forbids firefighters from climbing trees or utility poles for rescues after the first Las Vegas firefighter death in the 1950s came from a firefighter climbing a telephone pole to retrieve a cat, Szymanski said. The firefighter was electrocuted.
Contact Ricardo Torres at firstname.lastname@example.org and 702-383-0381. Find him on Twitter: @rickytwrites.