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Mother Dog and 7 Puppies Rescued from House Fire in Bethlehem

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September 07, 2022 | NEW YORK JEFFREY BELSCHWINDER, Senior Correspondent
This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.

BETHLEHEM, NY - On September 7th at 5:42 P.M., the Delmar FD along with mutual aid from the Slingerlands FD, Elsmere FD, Westmere FD for their FAST, Bethlehem EMS, and Albany County Sheriff's EMS responded to 489 Orchard Street in the Delmar Fire district for a reported structure fire, with the caller reporting a fire in the basement.

The first arriving police unit on scene had heavy smoke showing from the structure and immediately notified the dispatcher. Additional police units arrived and began to assist with making sure that all occupants of the home had exited. The first arriving fire chief from the Delmar FD immediately transmitted the Signal 30 for a working structure fire with heavy smoke pushing from the basement and the first floor. The first arriving engine company from Slingerlands FD made entry to the structure with a hand line and began to conduct a primary search for the seat of the fire.

The Delmar FD with their truck company took the end of the driveway and crews quickly made their way inside the structure to begin to conduct a primary search of the home. Firefighters made their way down to the basement with a hand line and encountered thick heavy black smoke with heavy amounts of heat pushing down on them. As the primary search crew made their way down to the basement, they discovered a mother dog with several puppies and immediately radioed command to make their way to the window for a rescue. Firefighters on the next arriving engine company connected to the nearby hydrant, creating the water supply for the scene.

Firefighters met the fire chief by the basement window with heavy smoke pushing out and handed the mother dog out to the awaiting firefighters and fire chief. Once the mother dog was safely removed, all her puppies were handed out of the window as well. Command immediately notified EMS that they had several puppies in need of oxygen. Firefighters rushed the dogs over to EMS and additional firefighters from other departments who were arriving on scene began to assist with the dogs. Neighbors also jumped into action to help hold the dogs and give them oxygen. A neighbor and a firefighter began to conduct CPR on an unresponsive puppy, but it unfortunately did not make it.

Firefighters inside the structure made a push towards the seat of the fire and made an aggressive interior attack, quickly knocking down the fire. Firefighters on the attack team notified command and requested ventilation of the structure. Firefighters conducted a secondary search of the house and confirmed that everyone made it out safely, and there were no remaining animals inside.

While firefighters were conducting overhaul on scene, paramedics and EMTs continued to work on all of the puppies by administering oxygen to help them breathe. A Slingerlands FD firefighter was able to reach out to a local veterinary technician who was able to assist the firefighters on scene with helpful measures to provide care to the puppies before they could go to the emergency vet.

Firefighters continued to conduct overhaul of the badly damaged home and remained on scene for over four hours while investigators conducted their investigation into the fire. During this time, one of the neighbors assisted by bringing the dogs up to their garage, allowing the mother dog "Bella" to feed her puppies. Later that evening the puppies were all evaluated at the emergency vet clinic and given a clean bill of health.

The following firefighters are credited with handing seven 2-week-old puppies and the mother dog out of the window to Delmar Chief Ryan and Slingerlands Assistant Fire Chief Tice: Delmar FD Lt. Anderson, Delmar FF Bastiani, Delmar FF Normandin, and Elsmere FD FF Root. According to Chief Ryan, “This could not have been done without the teamwork of the entire crew on the outside and inside putting out the fire while the dogs were rescued.”

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