Dog May Have Saved Amherst County Woman from Fire - - ABC13

Dog May Have Saved Amherst County Woman from Fire


Amherst County, VA - Amherst County fire officials are trying to figure out what caused a home to catch fire early Wednesday morning.

It happened just before 6 a.m. at 946 Slapp Creek Road, just off Buffalo Springs Turnpike.

One person inside was hospitalized for smoke inhalation. But the dog who saved her life, died in the blaze.

Gary Roakes says the woman, a 19 or 20-year-old, woke-up after hearing her dog barking in the other room. He says by then, smoke was two to three feet thick, seeping into her bedroom.

Three hours after the 911 call, crews were still on the scene.

"We're still putting out the hot spots in the fire. The house is a total loss. And we'll be investigating the fire to see if we can determine a cause," Roakes said.

Support beams look more like toothpicks and somewhere in the charred mess is a beloved dog.

"I ran out my bedroom window. I just smelled smoke. I couldn't even get to my dog," the woman told dispatchers in her 911 call.

Firefighters had to battle the cold weather just as much as the flames.

Roakes says they put most of the blaze out with water from three tanker trucks they had on scene. But since a nearby lake was frozen, the rest of the water had to be hauled in from Elon, about 10 minutes away.

Roakes says the house would have been destroyed either way, but this fire hits especially close to home for first responders.

The woman living there is the daughter of an Amherst County paramedic. Her grandfather who owns the property, used to be the deputy director of public safety, Gary Roakes' former right hand man.

"It's part of our family today. So we're here supporting them and doing what we can for them, just like anybody else," Roakes said, choking back tears.

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