By Anna Giles

FAIR OAKS (CBS13) – Eight little ducklings are alive and well after fire crews made an elaborate rescue in the middle of a Chili’s parking lot.

The babies had fallen through the grate of a Fair Oaks storm drain near Sunrise Avenue and Madison Boulevard.

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“I heard this chirping and I looked down in the drain and there were three little ducklings and I go ‘Oh no,’ ” said Susan Allen, the woman who initially spotted the ducks.

Allen had stopped to shop in the area and heard the poor animals crying for help.

“They were saying, ‘Mom, mom, come back. Mom,’ ” she said.

Mom did not come back and the timing was urgent.

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“They ingest something deadly, it’s so hot they could die while we are trying to do this process,” said Jennifer McKernon, a wildlife advocate who helped with the rescue.

But help was on the way fast: a team of wildlife rescuers and the local fire department. They quickly mapped out a plan to try and draw the ducklings to one side of the storm drain with two openings, using chirps to attract them or loud noises to scare them.

Then firefighters stepped in and used their hoses to gently flush water into the storm drain and float the babies to one side. Crouched down on all fours, one firefighter began pulling out ducklings by hand one after another. All of them were still alive.

“Fortunately, baby ducks are not as easily traumatized as some animals,” McKernon said.

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The ducklings have been taken to a local rehab facility and will eventually be released back into the wild.