Firefighters recognized by PETA for kitten rescue using special mask

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When firefighters in Florida made the effort to treat an unconscious kitten with oxygen, the fire department said they did it, because they felt compassion for the animal, and as this viral video shows, it worked. 

"We are absolutely thrilled," said Palm Bay Fire Department Lieutenant Alex Barna.

Now, the organization People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, is awarding their department with the PETA Life Safety Award for saving "Smokey the Cat."  Barna said two cats died in the house fire, but two survived -- thanks to firefighters Sean Casey and Jacob Couture.

"Those guys came out of the fire, already dog tired, still took the opportunity to try and save a life anyway they could," he explained.

Lt. Barna said Palm Bay firefighters carry special pet oxygen masks, which fit over the snout, for use on animals suffering from smoke inhalation.

"We do what we can for our citizens, even the smallest of citizens, even if they are not humans. I wouldn't call it direct protocol, but if we have an opportunity to save a life of any sort, we are going to take that chance," he added. 

"These courageous firefighters did everything that they could to save these cats, and they even brought one back from the brink of death," says PETA Vice President Colleen O'Brien. "PETA hopes their kindness and bravery will inspire people everywhere to act when animals are in need."

The fire department will receive a package of PETA's fire-alert stickers, a framed certificate, an award letter, a box of delicious vegan cookies, and a copy of The Engine 2 Diet — a Texas firefighter's 28-day plan for staying in prime firefighting shape by eating vegan meals.