Blairstown Township woman says barking dog to thank for saving her from fire

By Danielle Nelson

*This story is posted on The Express Times website


A Blairstown Township family was alerted to a fire in their home by one pet, and firefighters saved the other. Photo by Bob Halberstadt


Debbie Jones can thank her dog for saving her life.

The Blairstown Township resident was awakened about 4 a.m. last week by her barking poodle to find her kitchen was on fire. Jones immediately called 911 and was told to leave her home.

On her way out the door with her dog, Jones tried to grab one of her two cats.

“When you work in the medical field, you tend to think of yourself last,” she said.

Jones, who works as an emergency medical technician, realized she had to vacate her two-story home when her cat refused to heed her call. But Jones can still cuddle her dog and two cats thanks to the firefighters who rescued both cats.

Chief Darren Occhiuzzo with the Blairstown Hose Co. No. 1 said one of the cats came running toward a firefighter after the kitchen fire was doused five minutes after arriving at the home. The other cat was hiding under a table, he said.

“The cats are all doing fine,” Jones said.

Jones said she suffered smoke inhalation. She believes the early morning blaze on May 22 was caused by combustion in the garbage.

“It was garbage that should have gone out, but I was too lazy to take it out,” Jones said.

Occhiuzzo said the fire’s cause remains under investigation.

While the home suffered minimal water damage, Occhiuzzo said Jones and her pets have yet to return to her home because of smoke damage throughout the rest of the house.

Occiuzzo said about 25 firefighters responded to the fire. Blairstown Hose was accompanied by the Hope Volunteer Fire Department.

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