Traffic was shut down Monday for one lane on each side of the Massachusetts Turnpike, as firefighters from the Newton Fire Department rescued the furry critter

By Glenn Garner
April 28, 2021 07:08 PM
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raccoon
Raccoon
| Credit: Ari Herzog/boston herald

Why did the raccoon cross the road?

Commuters on the Massachusetts Turnpike faced such a question when they were stuck in traffic Monday evening after a wild raccoon scaled a lamp post around mile 26, resulting in a rescue mission that shut down one lane in each direction.

The Newton Fire Department arrived on the scene around 6:30 p.m., after they received a call from the State Environmental Police. "We don't typically do this," Newton Fire Lt. Michael Bianchi told The Boston Herald.

In video obtained by The Herald, two firefighters can be seen scaling Ladder 1 with a snare pole, making their way to the top of the post, where the raccoon had seemingly lodged himself inside near the bulb.

Applause erupts in the video as the firefighters manage to coax the furry critter onto their ladder and get him down to safety.

As adorable as the rescue might be, locals stuck in traffic weren't so amused. "I've lived here my whole life, and I've never seen a backup for a raccoon dangling from a pole," said Tony Massarotti, co-host of the Felger & Mazz sports radio show, who happened to be stuck in the resulting traffic for about 15 minutes. "You can't make this stuff up."

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"So I got closer and I see the ladder and I'm like what the heck? I didn't know if they were cleaning up an accident or what," Massarotti recounted to The Herald. "Then I look over and I see this raccoon running westbound across the highway, and I'm like, are you f— kidding me? We're going through all this for a raccoon?"

But officials insisted the rescue was an urgent matter, for both the animal's welfare and the safety of commuters. "Of course, they didn't want it to cause an accident," Lt. Bianchi said.