When Wonder Woman was nowhere to be found, they resorted to plan B.
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Three firefighters rescuing cat from cistern
Credit: Courtesy of Mansfield Firefighters IAFF Local 266

Being a hero is sometimes a thankless job, a fact the firefighters in Mansfield, Ohio, can now attest.

On Monday afternoon, the Mansfield Fire Department received a call about a cat trapped at the bottom of a cistern on South Main Street. Usually constructed to collect and store rainwater, cisterns are built with waterproof linings, usually of cement, making them extremely difficult to climb out of if you happen to find yourself, say, trapped in the bottom of one like this cat.

Capt. Joe Boebel led his team—firefighters Zach Smith, Matt Wurgler, Wyatt Dupre, Wes Martin, and Eli Slater—to find the kitty in question had broken through the old, worn cover at the cistern's mouth and fallen into the cavity below. Though just 16 inches wide at the mouth, the cistern opened into a much wider space at the bottom, some 12 feet below ground.

"It appeared the cat had been down there a few days by the way it was acting," Boebel told RichlandSource. "There was no water in [the cistern], but there was mud at the bottom."

First, the fire team tried lowering a ladder down the opening to see if the cat might show a little initiative and climb out, but they had no luck. So Smith then fashioned a lasso from a length of rope, lowered it down the opening and, after a little trial and error, managed to capture the stranded feline and haul them to safety—like a very, very high-stakes carnival game.

And once they were rescued from the subterranean tomb, how did the cat thank the rescuers? Perhaps with an appreciative hug?

"Once we got it out, it didn't want to have anything to do with us," Boebel told RichlandSource.

As soon as they were free of the opening, the cat bolted for the exit, meeting up with one of their feline friends in a wooded area a short distance away, before taking off to parts unknown.

In the meantime, Boebel and his team, with the satisfaction of a job well done being its own reward, contacted the property owner and told him to make sure the opening was resealed before any more animals found their way to the bottom of the cistern.