"So I asked the guys, 'Why is the cat here?' And they told me, 'He lives here now.' "
Dalmatians everywhere take note: The top dog at a firehouse in South Carolina isn't even a dog at all.
Meet Flame, an orange tabby and amateur "therapy cat" that's taken up residence with a team of firefighters in Greenville.
According to a new report from USA TODAY, the budding Instagram sensation with more than 22,000 followers wandered into the fire station two years ago "malnourished and too small to even be vaccinated".
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But after he was nursed back to health with a steady diet of "fried chicken" and ear scratches, the uninvited guest made himself at home (LOL, sounds like every cat ever) and settled in permanently with his doting new humans.
From lounging in boxes ...
... to cooling off in his very own kiddie kitty pool ...
... Flame basically has full run of the joint.
He even has his own miniature firehouse, which was accessorized with a slide pole scratching post.
And while firehouses can be a loud and intense environment and full of small spaces that you might not want an animal to crawl into, this remarkably chill cat rarely gets rattled by the noise and activity around him.
The firefighters also say that Flame, whom they universally praise as a good boy, knows when to scoot out of their way when they need to respond to emergencies, as evidenced by the video embedded below.
"This boy never ceases to amaze us. He does what he is supposed to do. #bestfirecatever," they wrote on a recent Instagram.
In an interview, Fire Chief Anthony Segars admitted that while he was skeptical at first, Flame has quickly become an essential member of the Greenville Fire Department, hence his unofficial designation as a 'therapy cat'.
“We see a lot of bad stuff ... And it’s like he knows, he can sense, that maybe they aren’t having a good day. And he will just rub up on them and sit in their lap, and be like, 'I’m here for you.'”
"For most firefighters, their station is their home away from home ... Their shifts are often 48 hours and they are without their family and loved ones. Every firefighter in the station agrees, coming back ... after fighting a fire and spending time with Flame — simply holding him or playing ball — they instantly feel better."
And it's not just the firefighters that swoon over Flame.
All sorts of fans ...
... and visitors ...
... have been seen canoodling with the viral star — and this includes some local EMTs.
Want to keep up with Flame's adventures?
Follow him on Insta for the latest and greatest in his world.
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