A raccoon caused a stir in Newton on Monday evening after climbing an electric pole and lodging itself near a light bulb. A commuter trapped in the resulting traffic captured the rescue operation on video.
Footage of a rescue mission involving a raccoon in Newton has gone viral. The operation shut down rush hour traffic on one lane, on each side of the Massachusetts turnpike as Newton Firefighters worked to rescue the wild creature.
The raccoon reportedly crossed the road on Mile 26 and slithered its way up a lamp post before settling near the light bulb. The State Environmental Police contacted the Newton Fire Department just before 6:30 p.m., notifying them of a raccoon on a light pole.
A police car and the city lights in the background | Photo: Shutterstock
The firefighters arrived at the scene shortly after and set to work. To facilitate the smooth rescue of the trapped animal, the rescue team stopped traffic in both directions of the highway.
In the video, two firemen scaled the ladder extending from the truck towards the lamp. One of them tried lassoing the animal from the lamp onto one end of the ladder. Newton Fire Lt. Michael Bianchi explained the urgency of the operation, which was not in their jurisdiction, saying:
"Of course, they didn't want it to cause an accident."
Despite being new to such an operation, the fireman tactfully coaxed the raccoon onto the ladder, attracting a round of applause from the excited bystanders.
But that was hardly the end of the ordeal. The fireman struggled to secure the animal in the lasso and scoop it carefully into a carrier, completing the rescue mission.
She notified pest control and filmed the entire operation.
While getting the critter to safety seemed heroic, not all the commuters trapped in the rush hour traffic found the ordeal enthralling. In fact, Tony Massarotti of "Felger & Mazz" sports radio show was one of those unfortunately stalled as a result.
Sharing his recollection of the incident, the radio host explained how he initially thought an accident might have caused the traffic. However, upon nearing the scene minutes later, he realized it was simply a raccoon rescue, to his chagrin. Massarotti noted:
"I've lived here my whole life, and I've never seen a backup for a raccoon dangling from a pole. You can't make this stuff up."
Photo of a raccoon | Photo: Pexels
This is not the first time rescue teams have deviated from their usual rescue of stranded humans and pets into rescuing wild raccoons.
In 2018, a critter stranded in a 25-story skyscraper in Minnesota caused an online frenzy as concerned citizens pleaded for rescue teams to intervene.
Onlookers reported the critter became stranded while raiding pigeon nests and had been without food or water for two days.
A similar incident happened earlier this month when a woman discovered crying baby raccoons behind her bathroom wall. She notified pest control and filmed the entire operation as the workers dismantled her shower unit to unveil the two stranded raccoon cubs.
These deeds seem heroic at first glance, but many, like Massarotti, find themselves wondering if these wild creatures were indeed worth the effort.