Andrew Davenport, 34, didn't think twice about giving CPR to a lifeless kitten caught in a house fire in Security on Monday.
"I did it hoping that someone would do the same for us, pets are like family members and I love animals," Davenport said.
Davenport was returning to his Fountain home about 10:40 a.m. after running errands in Colorado Springs when he saw thick, black smoke coming from a residential area. He turned into the Barnstormers neighborhood in Security, near Milton E. Proby Parkway and Hancock Expressway, and got to the home on the 4800 block of Daredevil Drive before firefighters arrived.
He jumped the fence at the back of the property, found the sliding door unlocked and stepped into the smoke-filled house. There were no people inside, but a kitten lay motionless.
"I pulled the kitten out and all I could think to do was to give it CPR, so I put my mouth over its nose and mouth and gave it several puffs of air," Davenport said. "Then I did a couple of chest compressions, the way I would with a baby. Then it started moving again."
The kitten, which Davenport guessed couldn't have been more than a few months old, and a rottweiler who also got out safely, were the only occupants of the home at the time of the blaze, which firefighters believe started in the basement.
Scott and Melanie Hess, who are listed in the county assessor's website as the homeowners, were not home.
"I met them later and they thanked me for helping out, but it's really no big deal," Davenport said. "It's bad enough when someone loses their home this close to Christmas, but pets are members of the family. You can replace a home, but not a loved one."
El Paso County Sheriff's Office spokesman Lt. Jeff Kramer said the fire, which caused significant damage to the back of the house, was extinguished by 11:20 a.m. Security fire was assisted by the Colorado Springs Fire Department and sheriff's office arson investigators.
"It's standard to have the investigators go through the scene," Kramer said. "After their initial walkthrough, they spoke to the owners to figure out what condition the home was left in when they left for work in the morning, and that will help them narrow down the cause of the fire."
Davenport, a correctional officer at the federal penitentiary in Florence, said he never thought about the risk of going in to check the home.
"You don't do anything like this expecting to get anything back, or get interviewed," he said. "I did it because those people needed help."