Austin firefighter rescues 5 animals in one week

Alexa Larsen - AUSTIN (KXAN) -- Alex Baumaister is now being called "animal whisperer" after saving multiple furry friends during a busy week of fighting fires.

Baumaister, a four-year veteran of the Austin Fire Department rescued five animals, including kittens and a snake.

On the evening of May 1, Baumaister rescued a cat from a burning apartment. The next morning, he pulled a dog from an apartment fire and assisted in its successful resuscitation. On his next shift, on May 4, he pulled a 6-foot snake from a house fire.

For a firefighter who is afraid of snakes, stumbling across one on a fire call was a surprise, to say the least.

"I thought I was hallucinating. I didn't know what was going on," said Baumaister. "Not sure what I was supposed to do... I just kind of grabbed him and picked him up and he hung down. Just walked him out, set him in the garden, and went back in."

Baumeister finished up the week in style on May 5, rescuing two kittens that had become wedged inside a wall at a home that was being remodeled. The owner of the home had no idea where the kittens came from but has adopted one, naming it Alex, after its rescuer. A friend has adopted the other.

Baumaister told KXAN these were the first lives he's ever personally saved during his time at the department.

"I have not had a week like that at all," he said. "I've never had any animal saves at all. So, to have three out of fires, couple kittens out of a wall, is pretty surreal. A very surreal week."

Being an animal owner himself, he didn't want an owner to lose a beloved pet.

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