Dog Saved From Burning Home

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As Kathy James and her daughter crested the hill near West McKamey Street, they saw an army of firefighters working to save their home.

"All I could think of when I came over that hill was to get my dog out of the house," James said.

But thanks to quick actions by neighbors, the family pet, Jewel, was already safe, and firefighters were called in time to save the home from total ruin.

The blaze started early Wednesday evening. James, owner of the local Subway restaurant, was at work with her teenage daughter, Mary, when they received the call from friends telling them their home was on fire.

An alert neighbor called for help.

"I was about to get the mail and I looked out and saw a big billowing cloud of smoke coming from the house (across the street)," neighbor Kathy Kaufman said. "I thought at first it was their barbecue. Then I saw big flames coming off the back of the house. I grabbed my phone and brought it outside with me and dialed 911 from the street."

Kathy's husband, Randy -- 15-year veteran firefighter --an in to save the family's dog.

"I ran across the street and tried the front door. It was open, so Jack (Koon, another neighbor) and I got down and crawled into the house to look for (the dog). She didn't want to come out at first, but we got her out and checked every room to make sure there wasn't anybody in the house."

Acting Fire Chief Marty deMasi said Payson Fire Department units arrived at the scene within four minutes of getting the 5:46 p.m. call. Diamond-Star firefighters assisted in battling the blaze.

"Twenty minutes after our arrival, it was under control," deMasi said. There were 21 firefighters at the scene, he said.

There were no injuries, but the damage to the house is estimated at $50,000, with lost contents totaling about $5,000, deMasi said.

"It went well. Our firefighters did a lot of salvage. Jimmie Rasmussen, acting battalion chief, was the incident commander and he did a good job," deMasi said. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, he said.

"I give a lot of love to my neighbors who got my dog out and everyone on the hill," James said. "Their kind words and hugs meant the world to Mary and me. We also thank the firefighters who showed true heroism."

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