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Fire guts home; dogs rescued
Firefighters go into the house to save the trapped pets, even as the fire turns ugly.
By S.I. ROSENBAUM, Times Staff Writer
Published November 25, 2007
TAMPA - The house at 1004 E Emma Street was in flames, the owner was away, and two dogs were trapped in the heat and smoke.
Firefighter Bobby LaDue headed inside.
It was around 8 a.m. Saturday morning. The house was full of smoke, light so far but quickly getting darker. It was cluttered in there, too - piles of boxes and possessions so high that the firefighters had a hard time moving around.
Another firefighter found a brown dog chained up inside and got him out. LaDue spotted the little black Labrador retriever huddled in a corner.
The dog was terrified, he said. He got a hand on her collar and hauled her toward the front door, but she broke away and ran back into the house.
By now the smoke was black and thick. LaDue could barely see the lab when he found her again, under a table in a back room. She had breathed in the smoke and was limp in his arms when he picked her up.
Outside, the firefighters held an oxygen mask to the dogs' noses and gave them water. They started to revive.
Behind them, the fire ate away the house's attic and roof. The building was pretty much destroyed by the time the flames had been doused, about half an hour later.
Capt. Bill Wade, a Tampa Fire Rescue spokesman, said the fire does not seem to be suspicious. The two dogs were taken in by a neighbor until their owner, William Miller, 45, could pick them up.
The Seminole Heights house is owned by Mable Edwards, Miller's mother, Wade said. But when investigators talked to her on Saturday she wasn't sure of her son's whereabouts.
Back at the fire station, LaDue scrubbed his equipment. His dad was a veterinarian, he said, and the other firefighters had kidded him about it. But really, he didn't know anything special about dogs. He was just glad the little black lab was okay.
"We just treated them like we would a human patient," he said.