Two dogs rescued from house fire in Central thanks to neighbors and firefighters

Poodle's life saved after flames tears through house in Central

CENTRAL, La. (WAFB) - Fire officials say the quick actions of neighbors and firefighters saved two dogs from a house fire Tuesday, March 3.

The house is located on Virgil Jackson Avenue near Central Middle School.

Michael Kaufman, who lives near the house that caught on fire, says he heard an explosion.

“[I] Came out the garage door and saw black smoke coming from the back of the house,” Kaufman said.

Officials with the Central Fire Department say propane tanks in the carport could’ve caused the loud explosions.

Propane tanks in the carport exploded, causing neighbors to be worried.
Propane tanks in the carport exploded, causing neighbors to be worried. (Source: Central Fire Department)
Propane tanks in the carport exploded, causing neighbors to be worried.
Propane tanks in the carport exploded, causing neighbors to be worried. (Source: Central Fire Department)

Crews with the Central Fire Department saved what they could from the house but were not the only heroes on the scene.

Neighbors tell WAFB they are not the kind of people who just watch a frightening scene unfold. They say they run toward an emergency.

“We got around to the side of the house and the shop was on fire,” Kaufman says.

“The smoke wasn’t too bad initially in the front of the house right here after the explosions, but it spread really quick. Smoke got really thick,” he says.

Firefighters hadn’t made it to the house yet, so Kaufman and Jeff Smith were on the job. They say it was just the right thing to do.

“I took a garden hose and was trying to hold the fire down as best I could to slow it down,” he adds.

Thankfully the people who lived here weren’t home. But Smith knows his neighbors and was positive dogs were stuck in the house.

Smith says he used a piece of concrete to break through the front door.

“We got the big one out and couldn’t find the little one,” Kaufman says.

Once firefighters got here and got things under control, that’s when Chief Derek Glover and fireman Devin Avery heard another family pet was still missing.

Glover says he and Avery searched every room, “The smoke had lifted a lot, so visibility was a lot better,” Avery adds.

Avery found Layla, a miniature poodle, hiding in the kitchen.

He calls that find just part of the job, “We’re just going in and trying to save lives and protect property. We don’t really get too emotional about all that.”

Cell phone video taken by a neighbor shows the 13-year-old dog getting oxygen not long after the rescue. She was then rushed to a veterinarian clinic.

Chief Glover says Layla was treated with an oxygen mask. The chief says firefighters have been carrying pet oxygen masks on firetrucks for several years just for cases like this.

Neighbors Kaufman and Smith saved a few lives but refuse to call themselves heroes.

“I wouldn’t say that, but hopefully someone would do that for me if I had a pet and my house was on fire,” Kaufman says.

Investigators believe the fire started in the garage and spread to the house causing heavy smoke damage.

Glover says no one was injured. The Red Cross was called to assist the family who lives in the home.

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