Department of Public Works Director Bill Zimmer was in his front yard late Wednesday morning when he noticed the critter. It was stuck head-first in the center of a large iron sewer grate, Zimmer told colleagues.
The animal got trapped after apparently climbing out of a storm drain along Ecorse Creek, Dearborn Heights Emergency Manager Robert Ankrapp said. And it was an emergency indeed — if you asked the raccoon.
Realizing the urgency of the situation and the rising temperatures, Zimmer called on fellow DPW employees Don Sepanski, Sean Moylan and Carl Kennedy for help, Ankrapp said in a press release.
The DPW crew carefully removed the manhole so they didn’t injure the raccoon, and then went to work “with a quantity of vegetable oil and dish soap. . . and a little TLC,” Ankrapp said in the release. That slick combo worked wonders.
But then, a new concern arose: You can’t render aid and then let a self-respecting raccoon go free smelling like Wesson oil and Palmolive liquid. After all, a raccoon can get a little ripe on a scorching day all gooped up.
“The furry friend was freed and placed in a cage for a trip to the DPW yard for a much-needed shower,” Ankrapp’s release said.
After that, this animal’s tale had a happy ending.
“Once cleaned, watered and cooled down, the unharmed raccoon was set free in a nearby wooded area to enjoy the rest of the day’s heat wave in a familiar (but cooler) habitat,” said Ankrapp’s release.
That brought a round of verbal applause for the Department of Public Works from Mayor Dan Paletko, who said: “It’s gratifying to see the care these employees take to ensure all our residents have a great city to live, work and play in.”
Even four-footed ones that don’t pay taxes.
by Bill Laitner