SAN JOSE, Calif. — A fire department is usually a good place to go if you’re in trouble, but a mother cat’s decision to drop off five of her kittens inside a fire truck might not have been the best.

The five kittens, determined to be no older than 4 weeks, were discovered inside the hose compartment of a fire engine at San Mateo Consolidated Fire Department’s Fire Academy in Foster City, prompting a rescue the firefighters weren’t expecting.

The compartment, which holds many yards of carefully folded fire hoses, was a protected, cozy spot, but one that would have been dangerous for the kittens if a crew responded to a fire or a training activity. Firefighters called Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA, which has a growing reputation for mounting odd animal rescues.

“With the assistance of the fire department staff, we were able to safely rescue all five of the little kittens from the engine,” PHS/SPCA communications manager Buffy Martin Tarbox said.

The kittens are estimated to be three to four weeks old. There was no sign of the mother. They will be placed in a foster home with a shelter volunteer until they are old enough to be adopted.

“The kittens appear to be in good health, and it’s a miracle they were found before the truck was used for fire safety training courses,” Tarbox said.

The shelter rescues more than 5,700 animals each year.

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