COLUMBIA, S.C. - Four firefighters in a South Carolina town plucked a frightened black lab puppy from the top of a double-decker freight train car and delivered her to a new, loving home.
"We don't know how long she was up there," Liberty assistant fire chief Chris Rowland said Tuesday. "She was scared. She was ready to come down."
Rowland's team of four firefighters was called Sunday evening after Tina Parker of nearby Pickens spotted the pup while she and her family were stopped at a red light and saw the train pass by.
Parker said she saw what she thought was trash on the top of the train, but then it started moving and she realized it was a small dog.
"There's no question it was a puppy," Parker said.
She called 911 and followed the train to Liberty about six miles away.
A Norfolk Southern spokeswoman said they stopped the train, which was going about 50 mph while traveling from Pennsylvania to Atlanta.
The family helped firefighters find the car and firefighter Derek Sargeant scampered up a 24-foot extension ladder to get on top of the double-stacked containers.
"We don't know how she survived up there," Rowland said.
The Parkers named the dog Boxcar Hunter, or Boxy for short. They made an appointment with the veterinarian to have the dog checked, but Parker said it seems healthy and happy to be off the train. She has two other dogs and the new pup is getting used to her new surroundings.
Parker said no one knows who put the dog atop the train.
Rowland said the effort was a difficult one, given where the car stopped and how the firefighters had to maneuver to get the ladder in place alongside the tracks. But he said it was a good thing for all involved.
"We've rescued a cat here and there, but we've never had to get a dog off the top of a train," he said.