Firefighter Jesse Hodorowski helps rescue Rocky, a 3-year-old, approximately 6-foot-long monitor lizard, from a tree in South Davis. Courtesy photo

Local News

Davis fire crew makes reptilian rescue

By From page A1 | July 19, 2013

Everyone’s heard the old tale of firefighters rescuing a kitten stranded in a tree. But what about a monitor lizard?

That’s the situation a Davis fire crew stumbled upon Wednesday night when Rocky, a 3-year-old, roughly 6-foot-long reptile owned by a South Davis family climbed a tree and refused to come down.

Fire Capt. Brian Lynch said firefighters got involved when Rocky’s owner came by the Mace Boulevard fire station with an unusual request for help.

It seems the young man had taken Rocky into his back yard on El Cemonte Avenue for some exercise when the lizard “unexpectedly darted up a large tree,” Lynch said. “Then he climbed out on a very precarious branch.”

Concerned that Rocky, who is used to sleeping under a heat lamp at night, might become trapped in the comparatively chilly outdoors overnight, the owner sought assistance from the fire crew, Lynch said.

The hands-on rescue duties went to Firefighter Jesse Hodorowski, who climbed a ladder to reach the 15-foot-high tree branch, then tied himself to the tree for safety. Someone else sprayed a hose at Rocky’s tail to get him to move closer to Hodorowski, but the lizard got only within a foot of the firefighter’s grasp.

That’s when Hodorowski made Rocky an offer he couldn’t refuse: a frozen rat, his typical meal, which got Rocky close enough for Hodorowski to reach out and grab the runaway pet.

“He actually held him like a baby and carried him down that way,” Lynch said — an act that has since earned Hodorowski the title of “lizard whisperer” around the firehouse.

No one was injured during the hour-long rescue effort, and once Rocky reached solid ground, “he promptly had his rat for dinner,” Lynch said.

— Reach Lauren Keene at [email protected] or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene

Lauren Keene

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