Two years ago, Flame was a malnourished stray cat wandering around the Belmont Fire Department in Greenville, South Carolina.
Now, he’s Flame the Arson Cat: mascot, shadow, and stress reliever for the firefighters.
Firefighter engineer Jordan Lide was the first to befriend Flame and bring him into the station. Fire Chief Anthony Segars was reluctant to have a pet in the firehouse at first, but according to Yahoo News, now he says:
“My guys, they see horrible accidents, horrible things every day. We’re involved in something weekly that stresses them to some degree, and he is a tremendous stress relief to these guys. He is therapeutic after a bad call comes in.”
Lide agrees with his chief about the therapeutic properties of Flame. He said in the story:
“You don’t realize he’s therapeutic until you’re playing with him and he starts rubbing up on you. It’s a mental break. We’re on shift for 24 hours running calls and working, and we see the worst side of stuff sometimes, and the innocence of him, he just wants to be loved on and played with, and then you forget you were in a bad fire.”
Flame has been neutered and is up to date on his shots. He stays behind at the station while the firefighters are out on calls, but he greets them as soon as they get back. Lide says:
“First he rubs up on the truck to see where we’ve been and then he follows us over to the lockers and then he’ll come and jump up on the bumper and sits next to you on the bumper…He has his own department picture and everything. It’s something you can count on because he’s always there. Especially in the morning, he sets the tone for the day. He just gives you that sense of, ‘Take a step back, relax, take it one call at a time.’ He’s definitely a part of the guys. He’s a part of our everyday lives.”