Usually busy fighting flames, Papatoetoe firefighters were called to two identical, less urgent incidents this week - rescuing kittens from car engines.
In what they have dubbed "Groundhog Day", crews were called to jobs near the Papatoetoe Countdown carpark to rescue cats that had climbed into the engines of parked cars to escape the cold.
Senior station officer Shaun Pilgrim said they were called to the latest incident at 9.30pm last night.
An eyewitness had left a note on the bonnet of a car saying they had seen the cat jump in.
Alerted by the note, a family of four found the kitten sitting on their engine but it retreated from their grasp, stopping between the engine and the fire wall where it couldn't be reached.
"It was jammed in there quite well," Pilgrim said.
They then called the only people anyone would want on a job such as this - the fire service.
Arriving in their fire truck, Pilgrim said they expected the worst.
"I expected to find a cat that's been sitting up there and the vehicle's been driven and possibly come to a grim end, not to find a little kitten scared to death and in behind the engine."
Feeling sorry for the cat, Pilgrim said he was a bit concerned it was feral and would have a go at him, although the crews were forced to steel themselves and have a crack.
To get it out, Pilgrim spent 10 minutes lying under the car trying to push it up into the grasp of another firefighter who stood above it trying to grab it out by the scruff of its neck.
Eventually successful, they took it back to the station and fed it some salmon before calling the SPCA to come and collect it.
Normally based in Takapuna, Pilgrim was not there the night before but said staff described it as an identical incident.
"It was sort of like groundhog day... all the cat jokes came out," he said.
Pilgrim said firefighters suspected someone had dumped a litter of kittens in the area.
He said the SPCA had found a home for the cat from the night before and were confident they could do the same for the latest feline victim.
He said it was not his first animal rescue - he had to abseil down a Parnell cliff 10 years ago to rescue a bull terrier pup that was trapped on the rocks.
- © Fairfax NZ News