Flame, a ginger tabby, was malnourished and bedraggled when he wandered into Belmont Fire Department in Greenville, South Carolina in search of food.
Instead of sending the tiny animal back onto the streets, station engineer Jordan Lide, 26, took the little kitty in, fed it fried chicken, and nursed it back to health.
Jordan rescued Flame when he crept into the five-acre yard surrounding the station around two years ago.
'We get some strays coming around, but most of the time they run off when they see us,' he said.
'We were decompressing in the evening when we heard a meow and I looked out into the grass and Flame was there,' he went on. 'He was really young and skinny and looked like he had barely eaten. He was timid and scared so I spent some time trying to gain his trust.'
Jordan did finally manage to earn the trust of the kitten, who was just weeks old at the time, and from then on he was 'super friendly' — but still in need of some help.
'He looked as though he hadn't eaten so we raided the kitchen and found some fried chicken. He instantly ate every little piece,' said Jordan. 'The next morning we came out and he was still there. He was there every day after that.'
Two years later, Flame, is a key member of the team, helping them unwind after mammoth 24-hour shifts.
'Flame is the most relaxed cat ever. He gravitates towards the guys,' said Jordan. 'When we go out he is right there in the bay, waiting. He helps everyone de-stress.'
Cute photos show the mischievous cat sleeping in, on, and beneath the fire engines. Sometimes he is dressed in uniform, and he is often seen playing with the firefighters.
He even waits for them in the bay when they're called out to emergencies and offers them cuddles on their return.
'We get back and sit down to catch our breath and he comes and before you know it you are petting him and holding him and playing with him,' said Jordan.
The nine full-time firefighters and 50 plus volunteers all chip in to care for the station mascot — even the department chief.
The team saved up to pay for his vaccinations and vet care, bought him a collar, and even got him his very own bed and scratching post, which sit in a corner of the staff room.
'He is very much part of the family,' Jordan said.
(Daily Mail - July 14, 2017)