Bright & Brief
Jan. 14, 1990
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) _ A firefighter who used mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to revive two palm- sized kittens overcome by smoke says he draws the line at reptiles.
''If somebody has a pet snake and it quits breathing they can hang it up. I'm not kissing a snake,'' said A.J. Green, who received letters from far and wide after his Nov. 13 feat was publicized.
Green used mouth-to-mouth resuscitation followed by oxygen to save the 2- week-old kittens at a house fire. Since then, Green has received letters from animal lovers from California to Massachusetts.
On Jan. 10, he received one with $2 inside from a woman in Marietta, Ga.
''You are a very kind man,'' she wrote, signing the letter, ''From an old lady who loves animals.''
Green, a Durham police and fire veteran of 21 years, answers all the letters he receives and sends money he gets to the Animal Protection Society.
Green said he saw the two white and gray kittens lying on the ground outside the burning house, where they had been brought by other firefighters. Neither animal appeared to be breathing. Their 13-year-old owner, Jennifer Pruitt, was screaming nearby. That's when Green said he sprung into action on one of the pets.
''I held it in my hand and blew into the mouth of the kitten. It wasn't close contact. When the kitten started responding to that I hooked up oxygen and gave them oxygen,'' he said.
''I wasn't sure how much oxygen to give a kitten so I pretended it was an infant and set the oxygen for that amount. I rotated the kittens for about 20 minutes,'' Green said.
''I saw the girl there and she had apparently lost everything. She was so distraught that I felt like I had to try to do something for her,'' he said.
The kittens are alive and healthy today, Green said.
Green, whose own household includes a cat, three dogs, a parrot and two parakeets, said he is amazed by the attention his rescue has received.
''This has been overwhelming to me. I never expected to see a thank-you card or letter or anything,'' he said. ''It makes you more conscientious of your job. Something like this is like icing on the cake. It makes you feel good.''