Three dogs saved from Belle River house fire by Good Samaritan
Windsor Star

A Good Samaritan who smashed a window after smoke was spotted billowing from a Belle River home Sunday morning saved three dogs that were alone in the house.

The unidentified man was walking down the street according to neighbours when he joined a group of people who were attempting to see if anyone was home.

Suzanne Howell said she was sitting at her dining room table when she looked out her window and saw “the huge black billowing cloud of smoke.”

She and husband Jerry ran over to the house and banged on the front door but no one was home.

“We ran and got the ladder from the back yard, gave them a patio stone and the guy broke the window and grabbed the dogs,” said Jacklyn Bodchon, who lives next door.

“We knew that the dogs always stay in the one bedroom while (the owners are) out.”

The dogs – two adult Australian shepherds and a puppy – were rescued before the home became fully engulfed.

“The one gentleman climbed up the ladder,” Howell said. “Smashed out the window completely.”

The unidentified rescuer suffered some cuts, Howell said, adding she applied first aid before he left the scene.

Lakeshore Fire Chief Don Williamson said the fire call came in at approximately 11 a.m. Sunday.

Two stations responded. Five trucks and 20 personnel were dispatched.

“The fire started on an exterior deck on the side of the house and it actually ended up catching the siding on fire and then worked up into the attic space,” Williamson said. “The roof ended up collapsing inside the house.

“The three dogs that were in the house … a neighbour helped get them out of there, which was fantastic.”

Bodchon said the dogs appeared fine despite their ordeal.

They were happily eating dog kibble and resting on a nearby lawn while firefighters assessed the damage and ensured the fire was out.

“We have two dogs so I just grabbed our leashes and tied them around them and waited till we could get a hold of (the owners),” Bodchon said.

“(The dogs) were very, very lucky that gentleman was walking by and that the neighbours came and alerted us. It could have been a lot worse,” she said.

“We have dogs. I would want somebody to do the same thing for us.”

Williamson said he was still working on a damage estimate but “the house will not be fixed.

“It will be a tear down for sure,” he said. “And the unfortunate part … there’s a sold sign in the front yard there.”

A real estate sign was visible on the front lawn.

“I feel so bad. My heart breaks for them,” Bodchon said. “Their house was supposed to close in like three weeks.”

The cause of the fire is still under investigation but Williamson said it’s thought not to be suspicious.

There was also visible damage to the exterior of the house next door.

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