SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Eight Puppies Rescued From Burning Home
By Mary Kauffman


June 16, 2008
Monday PM

Ketchikan, Alaska - An investigation is still underway to determine the cause of a fire that erupted at the Woodland Avenue home of Cammy and Martin Smith on Saturday. No one was home at the time of the fire; however, there were two adult dogs and eight puppies in the home at the time the fire started.

jpg Home Fire

Cammy and Martin Smith's home at 1067 Woodland Avenue.
Photograph by Cindy Balzer

Ketchikan Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief Jim Hill said the two adults dogs were upstairs and were able to exit the home by apparently using dog doors that were installed. However, Misty Archibald, a friend of the Smiths, said that Ralph Bolton Jr. broke down a door to the burning house to let the mother dog out. "Who knows how it may have turned out if [Bolton] hadn't done that," said Archibald.

The eight puppies were rescued by staff from the Ketchikan Fire Department and Ketchikan Police Department.

Hill said the eight puppies were locked up in the basement inside a fenced-in area. Hill said when he reached inside he was hoping the pups didn't bite as they were large pups. But the pups were ready to be rescued. Hill said, "When I reached inside, the first one jumped right in my arms. Then I reached in again and felt around and another one jumped in."

Then the count started. Hill said, "We went one - two - three.... and we counted one through eight and I said, how many pups did she say there were?" The response to his question was eight. "Good, let's get out of here," said Hill.

jpg Pup rescued

One of the rescued pups being carried from the home.
Photograph by Bill Meck

It will be up to the insurance company to determine the status of the damage to the house said Assistant Fire Chief Hill. He said the fire had a good running start before the firefighters arrived and the water used to extinguish the fire added to the damage. Hill said the fire and smoke damage was on the main floor to the kitchen, living room, and bedrooms. He said there was significant water and smoke damage to the upstairs also.

Hill said the fire department is looking at the possibility of a space heater that may have malfunctioned; however, the cause of the fire is still under investigation. The cause at this date is reported as "accidental but still undetermined".

jpg Rescued pups

Rescued pups being comforted.
Photograph by Cindy Balzer

Two Ketchikan Fire Department engines responded along with twenty-eight staff with various duties. An ambulance and a rehabilitation unit also responded to the scene. Hill explained that the rehabilitation unit's function is to monitor and take care of the firefighters to ensure their safety when fighting fires.

Hill said the call came in at 3:08 pm Saturday and that Ketchikan Fire Department's first unit was on the scene at 3:10 pm. When the fire was under control, the crew performed what they call "overhaul" where they go in to salvage and save personal items if they can said Hill.

There were no reported injuries. The Smiths have friends in Ketchikan who are helping them in their time of need according to information provided by Hill.


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Ketchikan, Alaska