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Firefighters rescue injured cows after a crash in Yellowstone County

Laurel Volunteer Fire Department
Posted at 6:51 PM, Mar 20, 2024

LAUREL — On Tuesday evening, the Laurel Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to a car crash involving loose cows on Highway 212.

“Call came in as a cattle truck rolled over on 212 down by our water plant,” Travis Nagel, the assistant chief, said on Wednesday. “Cows and a busy four-lane highway is never a good mix.”

The crew feared the worst, thinking it would be a bigger incident with injured cows at the scene.

“Initially we were thinking a very large tractor-trailer and a bunch of cows on the road and that, fortunately, didn’t turn out to be the case,” said the operations Capt. Shane Willis. "It was my first cow (rescue). We’ve had cats, geese.”

When the fire department arrived at the scene, the people involved in the two-vehicle collision did not have life-threatening injuries, so they moved on to the animals that needed rescuing.

Laurel police, Montana Highway Patrol troopers, and Laurel EMS were also at the scene.

Cattle roundup: Laurel Volunteer Fire Department steer unusual rescue
LVFD Operations Captain Shane Willis

Kurt Markegard, the city of Laurel's planning director, was leaving town to go to Helena and heard the call for the wreck. He immediately got off the interstate and went to the scene.

“I felt that with my background being around cattle, that I needed to probably see if I could help in any way,” Markegard said.

Cattle roundup: Laurel Volunteer Fire Department steer unusual rescue

Markegard left to grab his brother's portable corrals, and the crew quickly secured the six cows who had minor injuries.

“I think that incident shows how well multiple agencies work together in this area,” Nagel said.