‘Knolla’ the fawn doing well after brush with fire
Reno firefighter Ben Rupert found the garage where the burned fawn was hidden by crews as Wednesday’s fire storm swept down Kings Canyon. Hooves burned, the little animal scrambled to its feet when the garage door opened.
“Her feet were so badly damaged that she was just barely waddling, and she just waddled over to one of the walls,” he recalled.
She struggled a bit as he wrapped her in his turnout coat but then, exhausted, she relaxed.
“There was so much heat coming off her that even through my structure gloves I could feel the heat coming off the hooves of the little fawn,” Rupert said.
Because she was found on Knoll Street rescuers started calling her “Knolla.”
When he got her down to the Carson City Animal Control Department’s temporary animal shelter at Fritsch Elementary School on Mountain Street, he heard bad news.
“They said because she was a wild animal and she was so badly injured they would have to put her down,” Rupert said. “That’s when I told them that the news would love to hear your story about how firefighters saved this animal and you are planning to terminate it, so they started back pedaling.”
They contacted a state veterinarian who lives in the area and he was there within 15 minutes. He raced out to get his medical equipment and was soon back at Fritsch, bandaging the fawn’s feet. Rupert had called in his 3-year-old son, John.
“My little boy was petting the deer while they were putting in the IV, helping her stay calm.”
The family connection in this story runs deeper. It started when Rupert was watching the early stages of the Waterfall fire on television at his Reno fire station.
“Channel Two reported that Rupert’s Auto Body had burned. That’s been my family’s business for the past 50 years so that’s when I just got up, called my battalion chief and said I have to go on an emergency leave.”
Not only does his family own and operate the auto body shop, many of his family members live in the Washo Tribe’s Carson Colony behind it, including his 87-year-old grandmother, Virginia Rupert.
“I pulled my turnouts and my air pack off the fire engine and raced down to Carson to make sure my family was all right.”
It turned out it was the half-empty building formerly used by Presto Auto Electric that burned. Rupert’s was unscathed.
After checking on his family, Ben Rupert heard about the fawn in Kings Canyon. Firefighter Mark Bohach from Engine 16 in Washoe Valley had tucked her in the garage on Knoll Street as the fire grew out of control.
Now she’s being cared for by a Dayton woman.
“As far as I know she’s doing fine,” said Christine Blackwood, whose garage the fawn was in. Not only did Knolla receive care from a veterinarian, she was also seen by a specialist, Blackwood said with a smile.
Contact Karl Horeis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1219.
No one from Carson City Animal Control suggested the fawn saved by firefighters should be put down. Animal control employees protected the animal from the person who suggested euthanasia, according to firefighter Ben Rupert. They also called the veterinarian who treated her. A story page A5 of Sunday’s Appeal contained incorrect information.