It wasnâ€™t their usual call, but Langley Township firefighters came to the aid of a trapped and injured seagull on Tuesday afternoon.
At about 2:30 p.m., Heidi Wagner was leaving a dentistâ€™s office in the 19700 block of 64th Avenue when she saw something hanging from a nearby fence.
â€œI saw this movement,â€ Wagner said.
She looked closer and saw it was a bird, apparently tied to the top of a chain link fence.
Wagner and her mother called LAPS and the SPCA before being referred to the fire department, which dispatched a four-man crew from the Willoughby Hall.
â€œI wanted to make sure someone was coming for him,â€ said Wagner, who stayed until help arrived.
Firefighters brought a blanket and tossed it over the birdâ€™s head to keep it calm, then Justin Law ascended a short ladder and used wire cutters and a small handsaw to slice through the thread or twine trapping the bird.
Curtis Wright held the bird still under the blanket while they freed it.
The firefighters put the bird in a box and waited for the arrival of the SPCA.
The bird appeared to have had a lot of the thread wrapped around both its legs for some time, possibly long enough that its skin had started to grow over the thread.
It somehow became entangled with the top of the fence, and the bird hung there upside down until it was rescued.
Despite the efforts of the firefighters and Wagner, the seagull was too seriously injured to save.
The bird was taken to the Animal Emergency Clinic of the Fraser Valley in Langley, where it was examined by vets.
â€œThere was just too much damage that had already been caused,â€ said Rob Koreman, the hospital manager.
Circulation had been cut off in the birdâ€™s feet, and it had also ingested some of the thread, which had caused internal injuries.
â€œThe seagull had to be humanely euthanized,â€ said Koreman.