Two dogs saved from burning house
Firefighters with the Junaluska Fire Department saved more than just a home from burning this week — they rescued two furry family members.
When Junaluska fire fighters were dispatched to a burning home on Hughes Road off Mauney Cove Road in Waynesville, they immediately began putting out the flames that originated in the kitchen.
After the fire was contained, the firefighters entered the home and began a secondary search inside.
Though all the residents of the home were not there, fire fighters James Rhinehart and Jason Griffin did find a dog hiding under a crib in a smoke filled room upstairs. They quickly scooped up the dog, which was barely clinging to life.
Another dog was found in the basement of the home. Though scared, he did not suffer from much smoke inhalation.
Firefighters treated the dogs quickly using pet oxygen masks that were donated by the Invisible Fence Brand's Project Breathe campaign.
"This puppy inhaled quite a bit of smoke. He wasn’t really responsive — he was breathing, but you could tell he was struggling. We put oxygen on him and called a vet," Wood said.
Firefighters from the North Canton Fire Department took the puppy for treatment at a nearby animal hospital. As of today, the dog is doing well.
Lynn Wright, owner of the rental home, snapped a picture of firefighters James Rhinehart and Jason Griffin attempting to resuscitate the puppy.
Wright said she was thankful to all the firefighters who put their lives on the line to save her property and to save the pets.
Griffin said it's not unusual for fire fighters to come across family pets when responding to a house fire. Though part of the inside of the home was destroyed, the family was happy their pets survived.
"They were very excited about that," Griffin said.
Although the number of pets that die in fires is not an official statistic kept by the U.S. Fire Administration, industry websites and sources have cited an estimated 40,000 to 150,000 pets die in fires each year, most succumbing to smoke inhalation. In most states, emergency responders are unequipped to deal with the crisis.
“When a family suffers the tragedy of a fire, lives are turned upside down,” said Bill Swayne of Invisible Fence of the Mountain Region. “To lose a pet would be devastating. Pets are valued family members, so we want families to know that their pet can be cared for if tragedy strikes.”
Junaluska, Maggie Valley, Clyde, North Canton and Crabtree fire departments all responded to the fire.
The Haywood County fire marshal is investigating the cause of the fire.