A purr-fect rescueJune 4, 2019
On a cold October afternoon John Lee, an overhead electrician specialist at ComEd, responded to an unusual call from the company’s Operations Command Center (OCC): A cat was stuck at the top of a utility pole.
The cat had been on the pole for eight to 10 hours when Lee arrived. Neighborhood residents had previously called the police and fire department, who said there wasn’t anything they could do. The residents were concerned about the cat’s safety and felt like they were running out of options. That’s when Michael Mann, manager of new business at ComEd, received a call from his aunt who lives in the neighborhood. Mann called the OCC for assistance.
When Lee arrived, he assessed the situation. Due to the location of the pole, using a truck with an aerial lift to reach the cat was not an option. Lee tried to get the cat down with a stick, which proved unsuccessful. That’s when he realized he would have to climb the pole to save the cat, whom he later learned was named Chloe. Lee called a crew for back up and asked the OCC to de-energize the electric circuit.
“It was a dangerous situation because whenever we have wildlife they can potentially get electrocuted or there could be a flash,” Lee said. The preventive outage lasted 10 minutes and affected just 13 customers.
Once up the pole, Lee got ahold of Chloe and began to climb down with her in his arms. However, Chloe took matters into her own paws and perched herself on Lee’s belt as he went down. Once Lee was close to the ground, the cat jumped off and leaped into the arms of her relieved owner.