The raccoons were trapped at the bottom of a furnace vent stack in a detached garage in the 7600 block of Alicia Avenue. Their mother was nowhere to be found.
After much deliberation, the firefighters decided to shut off all utilities to the garage, disconnect the electric and gas service to the furnace, and remove the vent pipe from the wall to access the raccoons.
They pulled four baby raccoons from the vent stack base. The raccoons were dehydrated but in good shape.
They're now being cared for by Wild Land Animal Rescue.
Terry Merrell, chief of the Maplewood Fire Department, said his department receives an animal rescue call about once a year.
He recalled a previous incident when the department was called to rescue a cat that had crawled into a car's engine compartment for warmth. Its tail wrapped around the car's axel when the owner of the car started the engine. He stopped the car when he heard the cat meowing.
Merrell said the fire department had to disassemble the car to find the cat. Animal Health and Healing, a Maplewood veterinarian office, was called for help in the case. Merrell said the cat was rescued, but lost its tail in the process.
This story had previously mis-named the organization that asked the Maplewood FD to help with the rescue. The correct name is the Bi-State Wildlife Hotline not the Wild Land Animal Rescue, as previously noted.