On the evening of Jan. 6, Eastern Plumas Rural Fire Protection District answered a call to a structure fire at No. 18 Trails West Trailer Park.
“When we were dispatched to the fire, we were told that everyone was out — by our arrival, we were updated that the family pets were inside,” said EMT Elaine Frank of EPRFPD.
There were four pets inside the burning structure — three dogs and one cat.
“First thing when we got on scene was to determine that there were not any injuries,” Frank explained. “As an EMT, that’s the first priority. Then we found out that there was one deceased dog in the back bedroom and the other two dogs were not doing so well.”
The two surviving dogs were wet and laid out on the deck of a hatchback vehicle. At this point, Frank pulled out her oxygen bag from the response vehicle and started working on the dogs.
“We warmed the dogs up, as they had a very low core temperature,” explained Frank. “The black dog was affected, but not unresponsive, so the dog was put on oxygen.”
The other survivor had obviously been hit hard with the aftereffects of the fire, and Frank didn’t think that the second dog was even alive.
“I put a non-rebreather mask on the extremely distressed dog, and turned the oxygen all the way up to 15L, to give her extra oxygen as rapidly as possible,” Frank said. The dog continued to be unresponsive and so Frank kept working, and after another 15 minutes, Frank noticed that the dog was trying to swallow.
“The family was extremely distraught,” Frank explained. So, Frank continued on, working to give the beloved family pet chest compressions. “After a while longer, her eyes fluttered and it appeared that she was trying to rally,” Frank noted. “The dog started trying to lick her lips, there was eye movement, her gums starting pinking up. You just never know; animals can go into cardiac arrest just like people,” Frank stated.
After approximately 30 minutes of working on the dog, Frank was able to present the owner with their pet, giving instructions to warm the dog up, possibly in a neighbor’s home.
“It appears that the fire started from an electrical issue in the kitchen,” Frank said. “However, the trailer did not burn to the ground.”
Although one pet was lost, three were saved and to assist the family, Firehouse Thrift, run by EPRFPD, will be donating a $100 gift certificate to assist in getting through the aftermath of the fire.