SAN MATEO (KPIX 5) — Firefighters are known for rescuing cats from trees, but one recent rescue hit very close to home for a Peninsula fire department.

San Mateo Consolidated Fire Battalion Chief Robert Cook showed KPIX 5 cameras where everything started on the one of the department’s training trucks.

“It was right here in the hose bed at about half way in,” said Cook.

Five kittens were found deeply embedded in the truck’s hose bed with the coiled fire hoses. During a training session, those hoses could be yanked out quickly.

“If we had been in an academy when that was going on and they were up there, they would have likely come out in a rapid fashion during one of the drills,” said Chief Cook.

The kittens also could have been crushed if the training hoses were deployed. The young cats wouldn’t come out, so staff from the Peninsula Humane Society responded and — with firefighters help — the kittens were finally removed safely.

Peninsula Humane Society staff with rescued kittens (San Mateo Consolidated Fire)

The group of five are being called “The Fire Cats. And now they need a home.

“This is Barry and Barry’s a black cat. As we do know, black cats have a harder time getting adopted. Sometimes it’s superstition,” said Peninsula Humane Society Communications Manager Buffy Martin Tarbox

All the kittens are healthy, playful and friendly.

San Mateo Fire rescued kitten (CBS)

The Peninsula Humane Society says they handle more than 5,700 cat rescues every year.

“The mama cat was nowhere to be found. We did look for her and the firemen looked for her as well,” Tarbox explained. “But they were really young and could not have survived on their own.”

“We’ve grown up about rescuing cats from trees. Now we can add fire engines to that,” said Chief Cook.

The kittens are available for adoption at the Peninsula Humane Society and SPCA in San Mateo. For more information, check the Peninsula Humane Society website.