By all accounts, Flame is a dog that somehow got trapped in a cat’s body.
He arrived at the Belmont Fire Department in Greenville, South Carolina a couple years ago as a weeks-old kitten, emaciated and obviously malnourished. But instead of running away from human hands like so many strays before him, this little guy decided it was in his best interest to stick around. Especially after the firefighters broke out the leftover chicken and tuna!
Jordan Lide, a firefighter who works at the station, recalled the first time he pet the kitten, Flame leaned into his hands and “just started climbing all over me. He was just there every day from then on.”
By and large, cats are suspicious and skittish, but not Flame – his personality is more like a dog’s. The chainsaws and fans, loud sirens, even the humongous engines rumbling to life, none of it phases him at all, and believe it or not, he actually seems to enjoy bath time!
He’s acclimated so well from such a young age that Flame is now the mascot-in-residence at the station. The dozens of volunteer and career firefighters who work there find him a source of comfort, especially after returning from their sometimes-harrowing calls.
He senses when they’ve been out on an especially distressing call, rubbing up against them and purring as if saying, “I’m here if you need me.”
But Flame’s popularity extends beyond the confines of the firehouse. He has his own Instagram page with more than 85,000 followers, including one who was so smitten, he built Flame his own miniature firehouse with a slide pole scratching post.
It’s pretty common to see dogs working and living alongside firefighters, but for these brave men and women, this four-legged companion’s cuddles and purrs are worth their weight in gold.