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October 10, 2020

Rare Newsreel Shows Mickey the Minneapolis Fire Cat Sliding Down the Fire Pole in 1936

Meet Mickey, the Minneapolis fire cat at Station Number 10, which in 1936 (and until 2001) was on N. 4th Street between Hennepin and First Av. N. Looks like he has to run out to a fur alarm call...

More than 60 Minneapolis firefighters and at least one firehouse cat have died in the line of duty since the department was founded in 1879. Just a kitten when he was left at Station No. 10 in 1936, Mickey learned how to slide down the fire pole when the alarm sounded. That trick earned him the admiration of fellow firefighters and a feature role in a newsreel short.

“Mascot Mickey, Chief of Cats, chases fires instead of rats,” read the opening lines of the clip, which was shared by the Old Minneapolis Facebook page.

When Mickey wasn’t fighting fires, he loved to sit around and watch the firemen of Station 10 play dominoes. “Mickey likes all the boys at fire station 10 in Minneapolis, but most of all, he likes the best the domino players,” the video’s narrator says. “So the boys play dominoes, and Mickey displays great interest.”

But, of course, there’s nothing Mickey loved more than fighting fires, and when the game of dominoes is interrupted by the firebell, he runs to the station’s poles and slides down with the rest of the crew. The fire-fighting-cat then jumps in the back of the chief’s car.

“Where’s your hat. Mickey?” asks the narrator at the end of the clip, before the famous cat appears wearing his own No. 10 fire hat.

Unfortunately, it seems like Mickey’s talent was also his downfall. He answered the bell for the last time one August night in 1937, he’s only two year olds. Minneapolis Star editors put his death on the front page, above the fold.

“Mickey has answered his last fire call. ‘Killed in the line of duty’ is an epitaph prepared for Mickey — a two-year-old cat mascot which slid down the brass pole with fireman. He leaped for the pole and missed, falling 16 feet and breaking his neck. They’re going to bury Mickey with his tiny fireman’s hat,” his obituary reads.


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