By Jo-Anne MacKenzie
---- — LONDONDERRY — It was a draining experience for all involved, but four ducklings that fell through a storm grate yesterday evening were rescued by Londonderry firefighters.
It started when Glenna Moyer and her family from Windsor, Vt., stopped at the Shell station on Route 102 near Interstate 93.
Moyer said she noticed the mother duck and some ducklings hanging around the storm drain right beside the busy highway. It seems four of the ducklings had fallen through the grate.
When people gathered, the ducks still above ground took off. Moyer’s husband stopped traffic so they could cross Route 102 and head behind the gas station on the other side to water.
Moyer wasn’t about to give up on the babies trapped far below the surface. She called for help.
It arrived in force.
Two fire engines and a police cruiser, along with plenty of helping hands, quickly responded.
Police Officer Dan Hurley parked his cruiser near the drain and kept onlookers away from the scene.
Firefighters and paramedics used ropes, a mirror and a pole to begin the rescue. They later used a net of sorts, fashioned from a gas station dustpan with a long handle, to scoop the ducklings out of the hole.
It wasn’t an easy job, but, one by one, the ducklings were brought up out of the drain and handed to bystanders.
Fire Lt. Don Waldron and paramedics Stephen Cotton and James Gagne did the heavy lifting, so to speak. They stretched out on the pavement and improvised — successfully.
Moyer, Cody and Susan Morin of Methuen, and Shell station employee Marty Schancer took the ducklings as they emerged, then carried them across the highway to reunite them with their mother and siblings.
The ducklings did not appear fazed by the experience.