AUBURN – A tiny deer found refuge Wednesday in an Auburn steel plant.

Tanya Underwood rescued the days-old fawn from morning traffic on Washington Avenue, forcing a Central Maine Power Co. truck to come to a screeching halt while she shooed the four-legged infant away from the cars.

“He was running up the road,” said Underwood, who was on her way to work at nearby Tri-State Steel Inc. when she noticed him. He stood less than 2 feet tall, with several rows of white spots along his back. And he was all legs.

Underwood managed to herd him out of the path of cars and into a clump of trees near her workplace. Then, she and two co-workers, Lise Cyr and Millie Durgin, came to the rescue.

The women took turns watching the little deer in the trees while the others called for help, contacting wardens at the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray.

They were told not to touch him. Individually, they tried to keep him in the woods, making sounds to prevent him from going near the road.

“We kept calling with bleeping noises,” said Cyr. Then, during Underwood’s turn outdoors, the baby charged.

“He chased me right up the driveway,” she said. Meanwhile, her friends called, “Run! Run!”

In a moment he was in the steel plant’s entrance, an enclosed porch where he lay down and curled up. The women shot Polaroids and gaped at the tiny animal. Minutes later, Bentley Rathbun, Auburn’s animal control officer, arrived.

Apparently, the fawn was born to a deer that was killed by a vehicle two days earlier, said Rathbun, who picked up the deer into his arms and carried him outside. He took him to the Gray park.

By noon, the women made a sign and hung it on a door to the steel plant outside.

“A non-paying customer,” it stated. Below were three photos of the orphan. At the bottom, it continued:

“They took him away.”

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