One four-legged family member who was rescued from inside a burning, smoldering house Friday night in Lantana was given fresh breath by firefighters at the scene.
“The dog was obviously having a hard time breathing, so [we] got a mask and put it on him and the dog started breathing better,” said Michael Lugo, deputy fire chief with the Argyle Fire District.
Investigators are still looking into a two-alarm blaze that heavily damaged a $580,000 home in Lantana’s Farlin subdivision on Friday night. It happened in the 9000 block of Penny Lane where heavy smoke and fire could be seen coming from the two-story house around 10 p.m.
One person was in the house at the time of the fire, said Argyle Fire Chief Mac Hohenberger. Both escaped uninjured.
But the puppy — Lugo was not certain of the breed but thought perhaps a pug or an American Bulldog — was not with the escapee. According to Lugo, the homeowner arrived at the scene and asked if firefighters had found his dog, who he had left outside.
None of the firefighters had seen the puppy, but when they went back inside the house, amid thick smoke and fire, they found him inside a crate under the dining room table.
After receiving oxygen through a special canine mask, the puppy was breathing much better, Lugo said.
The district has had the dog masks for the past six months after they were donated by the Argyle Lions Club. Now, the AFD has three sets of small, medium and large masks. Firefighters hook up hoses from their oxygen tanks to the dog masks for the animals. They have been trained how to use them since each size requires a different amount of oxygen.
“We wouldn’t want to give them too much oxygen,” Lugo said.
It’s common for him to see pets in need of rescuing when the district is working fires. Before having the dog masks, firefighters would try to give the pet oxygen using a regular human mask.
“That’s not as effective because it doesn’t put a good seal around their mouth,” he said. “These slide around their nose and mouth and give them the full oxygen they need.”
Lugo suggests homeowners notify firefighters if there are any animals left inside, where they are if they are caged, or where their normal hiding places are. He also suggests not going back inside a burning house, and closing any doors or windows if possible as they flee. More oxygen gives a fire more fuel.
If you happen to have a video recording of this fire, you can help the AFD by emailing it to Lugo at firstname.lastname@example.org. These types of videos are used to help review for training purposes.