To the Editor:
On Jan. 27 at around 3 a.m. my husband, who is a Fairfax County firefighter, was dispatched to a townhouse fire in Alexandria. At the scene they found that the home was fully engulfed with one of the owners trapped inside the with his five dogs, four Bernese Mountain dogs and a Corgi.
While the other firefighters began fighting the fire, my husband, Rick Trudeau, and his crew from Truck 411 initiated the rescue of the trapped gentleman from the third floor bedroom. Rick actually carried the man down the 28-foot ladder on his head and shoulders.
After arriving on the ground, the rescued man's partner frantically let the firefighters know that he had five dogs still inside the blazing home. Now, being a dog owner himself, Rick was prepared to reenter the fire to search for the men's pets when he suddenly heard the words " Bernese Mountain Dogs." We have two Berners ourselves so this immediately hit home.
The crew ran back into the burning building and was able to bring all of the dogs out. Unfortunately, the oldest of the Berners was unable to be revived and passed away at the scene. After being given oxygen from the special pet masks that are now on the Fairfax County fire vehicles, the three remaining Berners and the Corgi were transported to a veterinary facility in Springfield.
While of this makes for a very exciting story, and makes me very proud of my husband and his colleagues, it's what happens next that makes me write to you asking for your assistance. Today we stopped by the townhouse to try to get information to reach the owners to see if they might need anything for their dogs. One of the gentlemen was at the burned-out shell of his home. Sadly, he informed us that his partner is still unconscious in the hospital, and one of his Berners is badly burned and is probably not going to survive. Needless to say, he is overwhelmed and devastated. On top of everything, his insurance does not cover the vet bills for the dogs. His costs have already topped $6,000 and are climbing. He also has no place to take the other dogs after they get released from the vet as he is staying in a local hotel for the time being.
We have started a fundly account to help these gentlemen with their veterinary expenses and care for their remaining "babies."
This is the fundly link: www.fundly.com/bernese-mountain-dog-house-fire-relief-fund.
Laurie Eimers Trudeau