Two years ago, there was a stray cat named Flame who was suffering from malnutrition and wandered aimlessly around the Belmont Fire Department in Greenville, South Carolina.
Today, Flame has transformed into Flame the Arson Cat, serving as the mascot, companion, and stress reliever for the firefighters.
Firefighter engineer Jordan Lide was the first to befriend Flame and bring him into the fire station. Initially, Fire Chief Anthony Segars had reservations about having a pet in the firehouse. However, according to Yahoo News, he has now changed his mind, stating:
“My team witnesses terrible accidents and horrific situations on a daily basis. We encounter stressful incidents every week, and Flame provides incredible relief for these individuals. After a distressing call, he brings a therapeutic effect to our team.”
Lide concurs with the chief’s opinion regarding the calming influence of Flame. He expressed:
“You don’t fully appreciate his therapeutic impact until you’re playing with him and he starts rubbing against you. It provides a mental break. We work tirelessly on 24-hour shifts, responding to calls and witnessing the worst scenarios. But when you’re interacting with Flame, who simply craves affection and playfulness, you forget about the hardships you’ve encountered, even during intense fires.”
Flame has been neutered and is up to date on his vaccinations. While the firefighters are out on duty, he remains at the station. However, he eagerly greets them upon their return. Lide describes the routine:
“First, he rubs against the fire truck, curious to know where we’ve been. Then, he follows us to our lockers, and eventually jumps onto the bumper, sitting beside us. He even has his own department picture. We can always count on him because he’s always there. Especially in the mornings, he sets the tone for the day. He gives us a sense of ‘Take a step back, relax, handle one call at a time.’ He’s unquestionably part of our team, an integral part of our daily lives.”