Jacqueline Serio was coming in to work this morning at the Danvers Crossing shopping plaza when she heard a quack for help. Outside her car window, she said, was a distraught mother duck.
“I got out of my car and heard little chirpings going on in the storm drain,” Serio, an assistant manager at David’s Bridal, said. “And when I looked down, I saw about eight of them swimming in the drain.”
Unsure of what to do, Serio called 911 at about 8:30 a.m. Within 10 minutes, a fire truck and the Department of Public Works had arrived to perform the rescue.
“I really couldn’t believe they were here so quickly. It was great,” Serio said.
Firefighters removed the storm drain lid and lowered a small ladder into it, but ran into trouble when they realized the ladder was too short.
“I went down the ladder, but I couldn’t reach them,” Steven Collins, a public works employee, said in a telephone interview. Collins ended up jumping into the hole, plunging himself knee-deep into storm water runoff.
“The fire department borrowed a little net from a nearby swimming pool store, and we had a bucket, so I fished them out, put them in the bucket, and raised them up the hole,” Collins said.
Eleven ducklings were rescued in total. They were reunited with their mother, who had been squawking nervously in the island of the parking lot, according to Danvers Fire Lieutenant Jamie Shover.
“It took about 25 minutes to a half-hour to rescue them, and they are now reunited happily with their mother,” Shover said.
Collins, however, was a little worse for wear.
“I was soaked,” said Collins, who needed to go home to shower before returning to his office. “My yellow rubber boots had to go in the dumpster.”
The ducks, who have been nesting in a pond across the street from the shopping center for four or five years, recovered quickly and returned to their nest, Servio said.
“We’ve been sending out one of our workers to check on them,” Serio said. “The ducklings are out and enjoying their mom again. I think we bonded a little.”