Homeowner grateful after rescue crews save her dog following garage explosion

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RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — It was a quiet night on Yeargan Road in Rutherford County until a woman’s home caught fire.

On June 17, 2020, Rosemary Faulk woke up to her dog Prissy barking. Faulk smelled smoke and grabbed Prissy. She then began to search the home for her other two pets, a dog named Max and a cat named Wiggles. They were nowhere to be seen, likely hiding from the commotion.

Faulk then saw fire coming through the door, forced to leave Max and Wiggles behind. When outside, she called 911. Faulk said she was thinking of going back inside the home to search for Max and Wiggles, but neighbors and the dispatcher on the phone advised her against it.

Shortly after, there was a huge explosion in her garage. This was all caught on the Ring Doorbell camera of a neighbor.

That’s when Rutherford County Fire and Rescue crews rushed to the scene. Lt. Joshua Sanders, Assistant Fire Marshal, told News 2 they had to act fast.

“We got to the house shortly thereafter and found a very large body of fire on the right side of house, which ended up being the garage area and working its way across the front of the house.”

After putting out the flames, Sanders said they started searching for Max and Wiggles.

“Fortunately, we were able to find Max, but he was struggling,” Sanders said.

When crews found Max, they started CPR and then applied a pet rescue breathing mask. He started to come around and was then taken to River Rock Animal Hospital where he spent a week.

Max with a pet rescue breathing mask on

Max recovered, but Wiggles sadly succumbed to the smoke. Sanders said while people may be tempted to go back into their home to save a pet, it’s best not to.

“As hard as it is to, to say or to expect from somebody to not go back in You know, the best, certainly the best thing is to not because fire develops so quickly and the smoke itself is extremely toxic.”

Sanders said it’s always a rewarding feeling to reunite an owner with their pet.

“Certainly when this situation appeared to be dire for the pet, and to see that recovery take place, was awesome.”

Faulk later discovered that it was one of two vehicles housed in the garage. After the explosion, the fire escalated and came through the roof, heading toward the attic. “After the explosion, it just took off from there,” she said. She is extremely grateful for the crews response.

“I was so incredibly impressed with their fast response,” said Faulk. Though crews were not able to save her home, their speedy actions salvaged several items including her furniture. “Once they extinguished the fire, they went back in to look for my animals.”

Faulk wanted to go the extra mile to show appreciation for the crews that saved Max.

“She brought us a meal and gave us some thank you cards. It’s always nice, we appreciate that because it’s not necessary, but it’s always nice to get that kind of gratitude to know that we made the difference that we did for her,” Sanders said.

The special thank you card had his ‘stamp’ of approval, otherwise known as his pawprint.

Thank you note from Max to Rutherford County Fire & Rescue

Faulk said she plans to continue showing appreciation by reaching out to other responding stations as well.

“I just cannot say it enough what a superb job these firefighters did. I was so proud of their compassion toward me and Max. They truly went above and beyond their call of duty,” she said.

Rosemary Faulk with Prissy and Max

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