January 24, 2011
A Chihuahua’s life was saved Monday afternoon when a firefighter pulled the dog from a burning home and gave him mouth-to-snout resuscitation.
In all, three dogs were saved from the blaze at 1920 Chamberlin South, said Darren Pellett, the Stratmoor Hills firefighter who rescued the small dog. No people were in the home when the fire broke out about 1 p.m. and burned the home’s main level.
The dogs were found hiding in a back bedroom and were saved after firefighters made sure that no one was trapped in the house, Pellett said.
“When I pulled him out, he was starting to get stiff and he was on his last legs,” Pellett said of the Chihuahua. “I was trained how to do CPR on humans and I figured it couldn’t be that different to do it on a dog.”
He said he didn’t have to put his lips on the dog, but rather just breathed air into its lungs and gave it chest compressions. Soon, the dog was revived and taken to an animal hospital for further treatment.
“It’s not the same as a human life, but seeing the life come back into him was amazing,” Pellett said. With two dogs at home, he said he knows how much animals mean to their owners, he said.
It took firefighters from Stratmoor Hills and Fort Carson just a few minutes to put out the blaze, but the damage to the home was extensive, said Bryan Lynch, assistant Stratmoor Hills fire chief. He said the home will be uninhabitable until it can be repaired. The cause of the fire and the damage estimate haven’t been determined.
Lynch said firefighters are more than willing to save animals after making sure that human lives aren’t at stake. Some fire departments, such as Colorado Springs, even have specialized oxygen masks designed to fit over an animal’s snout.
Lynch said that Stratmoor Hills doesn’t have those masks so Pellett had to improvise.
“He just used his ingenuity,” Lynch said.
Contact the writer at 636-0274.