Woman rescued 20 pets from deadly condo flood

HUDSON, Ohio (AP) - Police credit a veterinary technician with saving 20 pet dogs and cats from last month's deadly flood at a condominium complex.
"She's an unsung hero," police Sgt. John E. Lowman said of Diane Jamieson, who rescued the animals during a July 21 storm in this Akron suburb.
""We were thankful. You can plan for only so much," Lowman said. "We didn't expect for three apartment buildings to become uninhabitable."
Jamieson said she offered to search for pets left behind when people fled a 4-foot wall of water because animals would be at risk from gases, gasoline, elevator hydraulic fluid and sewage sludge.
"I knew there were pets in there," she said.
Two people were found dead in rising water in an underground parking garage at the Versailles Condominiums. About 100 people were evacuated from the condos.
Officials said the condominiums were left unsafe by the flooding because of toxic gases produced by car gasoline and other hazardous materials in the water.
As a veterinary technician working in South Russell, Jamieson knew how to use the special tools of animal rescue: gloves to handle furious cats and rabies poles to keep snarling dogs at length.
She went to Hudson High School, where evacuees were being taken, to track down a list of pets.
She was touched by the condition of the evacuees at the school.
"There were people with no shoes, people who were lucky to get out with their lives," she said. Some people did get their pets out.
The hiding spots for terrified cats were remote and diverse. Cats had crawled up in the springs under couches and beds and nestled in piles of debris. No one knew how many might have died.
Jamieson managed to snag a dog, a miniature schnauzer named Abby.
"We had no clue when we could come and get her. A couple of officers were extremely understanding. That woman helped my mom get her out quickly and safely," said condo resident Zach Wechter.
During the rescue, most pets came at Jamieson claws first, but one cat greeted Jamieson by purring and rubbing her ankles. Jamieson told the sweet white cat to get in the carrier, and surprised her by doing so.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)