- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Firefighters had doused the bulk of a house fire last Friday morning near Hermanville when they got word that there were occupants possibly trapped inside — two dogs that were then rescued and revived in the yard with oxygen, ice packs and drinking water.
More than two dozen Bay District and Patuxent River Naval Air Station firefighters responded to an 11:20 a.m. call to the home on Atalanta Street, across Pine Hill Run from the Navy base. An electrical problem started the accidental blaze at a covered back porch on Ashley Hier’s one-story home, the state fire marshal’s office reports, and a neighbor spotted and reported the fire to 911 dispatchers. A neighbor also told firefighters about the dogs.
“The fire was pretty much out,” Bay District volunteer firefighter Robert Wahrenbrock said this week at the Co. 3 firehouse in Lexington Park. “We were checking for extensions [of the fire]. We were doing our primary search [for occupants] of the house.”
They found the dogs, trapped in the home and close together. “They were in a room like a living room, with a kid gate up,” Wahrenbrock said. “The one dog was in a kennel, and the other dog was lying next to it.”
Wahrenbrock and fellow Bay District firefighter Mike Fuhrman brought the pit bull and shih tzu outside, and called for Lexington Park rescue volunteers on stand-by in the front yard to assist them as they got out their own oxygen supplies from their firefighting vehicles.
“The pit bull was definitely unconscious,” Joe Gould, a past fire chief and current rescue squad engineer, said at the firehouse. “The shih tzu was more responsive, but he definitely had a good dose of smoke inhalation, and heat exhaustion.”
The 10-year-old pit bull was seriously overheated and was moved to a shaded area, Gould said, but both animals responded to the emergency treatment they received, and later were turned over to animal control officers to arrange for further care.
The fire and rescue volunteers could not revive a cat found in the burned home, and a pet bird also perished in the blaze, but the displaced resident was grateful despite the loss from the blaze estimated by the fire marshal’s office at $150,000.
“She was distraught that her house burned down,” Fuhrman said, but “she was really happy” that the two dogs survived.
“Those were her babies,” Gould said.