PHILADELPHIA -- A Verizon worker considered a hero by a Philadelphia neighborhood for taking quick action to rescue a cat has been suspended by the company for violating safety protocol.
Cell phone video captured the rescue on March 16.
Neighbors on the 2500 block of East Monmouth Street in Port Richmond had been trying for an hour to rescue "Princess Momma," a cat who somehow got stuck at the top of a utility pole.
Verizon worker Maurice German was on the scene and used his bucket truck to rescue the animal.
No one was injured - feline or human.
But, a Verizon spokesman told Action News that because German's good deed violated safety protocol, and was actually pretty dangerous due to the electrical lines in the area, the company had no choice but to suspend him.
That suspension is three weeks without pay.
Verizon issued the following statement:
"We take no joy when our employees face consequences related to their job duties. We are, however, fully committed and responsible for keeping our employees and customers safe. All of our field technicians go through extensive training that is focused on workplace safety. Our goal is to keep our employees and our customers out of harm's way.
For safety reasons, our trucks and related equipment are not intended to be used in the area in which he was operating, specifically around electrical wires. While our actions may not be popular, he potentially put his life and those around him in jeopardy. To show our support for animal rescue efforts, Verizon has made a donation to the Pennsylvania SPCA in Fishtown, an organization that helps care for and provide homes for abandoned cats and other animals."
Neighbors said they are more than grateful for German's heroic act.
Verizon worker suspended after rescuing cat stuck on utility pole