UPDATE 9/8/13 @ 10:15 p.m.
MILTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – Even the firefighters who put out the flames at a house fire in Milton on Saturday call Batman and Captain America heroes.
Like a scene from a comic book, two men dressed as superheroes went into a burning house on Church Street to save a cat.
“We were at the American Legion doing an event for the vets and the children in the community,” John “Batman” Buckland said. “The vets came over, said they saw some smoke, thought it was trash.”
Buckland, a former firefighter, saw the smoke and knew from the color that it wasn’t just trash burning.
He and his friend, dressed as Captain America, took off down the street and rushed into the house to see if anyone or anything was trapped inside. Buckland said they made it about halfway inside and heard nothing.
“I said, ‘Captain, I need you to find the biggest rock you can find, and throw it through that window right there to let some of this smoke out of that front room,’” Buckland said.
Troy “Captain America” Marcum grabbed a large rock and asked Buckland if it was big enough.
“I said, ‘That'll work.’ Captain throws this huge rock, out comes the smoke through the window and I decided to go back in that door again,” Buckland said.
Rushing inside again, Buckland said he felt around until he hit something furry. His instinct was to grab it and get out.
“I don't care what it is. I don't care if it's a Chia pet. It's coming out,” Buckland said. “So I grab it, run out the door with it, put it in the yard. […] And I'll be if it wasn't a cat.”
The cat had inhaled smoke, according to Buckland. That’s when Buckland began giving it mouth-to-mouth breaths to displace the smoke it had inhaled. When the cat came to, Buckland said it “freaked out.”
“[The cat] hissed at me and everything, looked like it wanted to kill me,” Buckland said. “It was actually pretty funny though, cause you had the whole Batman, Catwoman thing playing, you know?”
E.M.S. on the scene asked Buckland to take his mask off so they could give him some oxygen. Buckland said he gathered the kids who were nearby and made them swear they wouldn’t tell anyone “who Batman really is.”
On Sunday, Buckland showed up to a charity softball game in Huntington in his Batman suit. He said he and his fellow superheroes teach children to look for opportunities to make a difference anywhere they go.
“Just right place at the right time,” Buckland said. “I don't think we did anything anybody else wouldn't have done. Fortunately, I had some really cool clothes on to do it with, and it actually helped cause the heat really didn't get to me that bad.”
Firefighters say the fire began in a bedroom closet around a light fixture and believe it was caused by electrical problems.
When firefighters arrived, flames had already spread through the back of the house and the attic. No one was home at the time of the fire, other than the cat rescued by Buckland and Marcum.
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It happened in the 1100 block of Church Street Saturday afternoon.
Firefighters say it started in a bedroom closet around a light fixture, and is believed to be caused by electrical problems.
When firefighters arrived, flames had already spread through the back of the house and the attic.
Nobody was home at the time of the fire, so no injuries were reported.