A house fire Friday morning on Signal Dr. is typically the kind of emergency call Leander firefighters run on. But Thursday the call for help, according to LFD Battalion Chief David Lincoln, involved a small animal.
"We had to do something, it was still alive, we couldn't leave it in the roadway or push it off."
It happened near the intersection of Ronald Reagan Blvd and Hero Way.
A moped had collided with a pregnant deer. With the bike rider stabilized, Leander police officer Jarod Kostecka turned his attention to the deer and a fawn in the road.
"The fawn appeared to be dead at first glance, and as I looked a little bit more, the fawn was trying to breathe."
Officer Kostecka covered the animal with a blanket and called to the fire fighters who were still on the scene for help.
"I think one of the things I immediately saw was this fawn in the violent condition it was in, still trying to make it, it was everything we could do to just respect that life enough to try to assist in trying to get that life back,” said Kostecka.
Leander fire units have specialized gear designed to revive pets pulled from house fires. Thursday was the first time the LFD masks have been used on a deer.
"And I was like, we've always been joking about using these things, let’s try them out,” said LFD Driver & Pump Operator Jeff Foster.
Even with the breathing mask on the deer, Foster wasn't sure if it would make a difference. Despite that doubt, he wasn't going to stop trying.
"I figured we'd only be able to help it for just a little bit, but she kept kicking, so we kept on helping,” said Foster.
The fawn was eventually turned over to Shannon Kraft.
"They could have just left the baby and gone on, but they did everything they could and stayed with it until I got there."
Kraft and her husband are volunteers with the rescue group All Things Wild and said they were moved by the effort to save the tiny life.
"I've always had a respect for the fire and the police department and everything, but I’ve never truly understood, or see anything like this. It was literally life changing,” said Kraft.
The fawn had serious internal injuries, and despite all that was done, did not survive.
In that loss, Kraft said the incident has renewed her faith in the kindness of strangers and has renewed her commitment to care for the injured wildlife that’s brought to her home.