Atlantic Beach firefighter brings home feline rescuee


Atlantic Beach firefighter JD Harris is smitten with his new kitten.

"He makes me appreciate the little things in life," Harris said. "He's a heck of a character."

But it was a scary situation that brought them together.

"We spotted him with binoculars between the fifth and sixth light poles on the Atlantic Beach side of the bridge," Harris said.

Harris and ABFD Assistant Chief Mike Simpson responded to a call that a cat fell of the Atlantic Beach bridge and was clinging to one of the pillars.

They borrowed a boat from good Samaritans and went out and grabbed him.

"He went from shaking and shivering to getting settled and burying his body into my coat," Harris said.

It was then that Simpson knew that these two were meant to be.

"A little bit later he's holding the cat and talking to it and he looks at me and says 'I'm not really a cat person,' and I said 'Well you are now,'" Simpson said.

Harris soon knew it, too.

"Somewhere along that trip from Atlantic Beach to Dr. Romano's office I just said, 'If i could adopt this little fella, I'm going to,'" he said.

They rushed him to Dr. Jocelyn Romano, who was amazed the cat survived such a drop.

"He had abrasions on his face and the biggest things were on the pads of his feet the nails were worn down -- most likely from were he was crawling up the pier," she said.

All three agree the cat is quite lucky to be alive today.

"He's very lucky," Harris said. "He used up a couple of his nine lives."

Now the cat, appropriately named Pilar by Harris, serves as a reminder of the good the community can do.

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