A stray kitten rescued by a hunky firefighter has become the station’s therapy cat.
Flame the ginger tabby was malnourished and bedraggled when he wandered into Belmont Fire Department in search of food.
Instead of sending the weeks-old kitty back onto the streets, station engineer Jordan Lide, 26, took it in, fed it fried chicken and nursed it back to health.
Two years on and Flame is a key member of the team, helping the lads at the station unwind after mammoth 24-hour shifts.
Hilarious photos show the mischievous moggy sleeping in, on and beneath the fire engines, dressed in uniform and cuddling the firefighters.
He even has his own Instagram page with more than 17,000 followers.
Jordan, who has been based at the station in the US for five years, said: “We are working long, stressful shifts and it is nice to take your mind off things.
“Flame is the most relaxed cat ever. He gravitates towards the guys.
“When we go out he is right there in the bay, waiting for us to return.
“He helps everyone de-stress.
“We get back and sit down to catch our breath and he comes and before you know it you are petting him and holding him and playing with him.
“All the guys here really take part in taking care of him.
“It gets your mind off the stresses of the job.”
Jordan rescued Flame when he crept into the five-acre yard surrounding the station in Greenville, South Carolina around two years ago.
He said: “We get some strays coming around but most of the time they run off when they see us.
“We were decompressing in the evening when we heard a meow and I looked out into the grass and Flame was there.
“He was really young and skinny and looked like he had barely eaten. He was timid and scared so I spent some time trying to gain his trust.
“He finally let me pet him and was super friendly.
“He looked as though he hadn’t eaten so we raided the kitchen and found some fried chicken. He instantly ate every little piece.
“The next morning we came out and he was still there. He was there every day after that.”
Now the nine full-time firefighters and 50 plus volunteers all chip in to care for the station mascot – even the department chief.
The team saved up to pay for his vaccinations and vet care, bought him a collar and he’s even got his very own bed and scratching post in a corner of the staff room.
Jordan added: “He is very much part of the family.”
To follow Flame on Instagram, visit instagram.com/flamethearsoncat