EMS teams save pets' lives, too

Lawton_Firefighters and Dalmatians go hand in paw, at the fire station, and sometimes, the firefighters responding to a department has to save other people's pets, too.  On Wednesday the rescue squad responding to a house fire call in east Lawton, didn't find any people inside, but they did find some animals - a tiny one even needed oxygen.  The Lawton Fire Department isn't sure what sparked the fire, but they know it began in the garage.  Smoke spread through the house where helpless animals were resting.

Without the fire department and EMS (Emergency Medical Services) team, the little kitty may not have survived, and it wasn't alone in the burning home.  "A dog, a cat that we had to kinda recessuitate, two birds, and either a hamster or a rat," said Lawton Fire Department Deputy Chief Juan Rodriguez.

Firefighters say that they first searched for people near doors and in hallways.  Neighbors say the mother usually stays home with her 2-year-old daughter, but they weren't there during the fire.  Firefighters looked in closets and under beds, checking for children and animals.  They say they found a dog in the yard, and found the cat later.  "He or she [the cat], had some smoke inhalation, so we gave it some oxygen.  He wants to be petted now," said Rodriguez.  EMS rescuers used an adapter on their oxygen tank that is specifically designed for animals.  Firefighters were happy to help the critters.

The garage door, and everything inside, was destroyed - including some children's vehicles, and what was left of a motorcycle and four-wheeler.  Fire officials say they believe the four-wheeler may have started the fire.  Gotta find out where it started," said Rodriguez.  Fires don't start themselves, and from that location, I would suspect if the motorcycle was ridden recently, it was too close to the fuel, and that caused it."

Some firemen searched the house and found the cat's carrier while the rescuers continued working to get the smoke out of the house.  By then, the little furball was ready for a catnap.

To help firefighters find your pets in the event of a fire, you can purchase an inexpensive pet safety alert decal.  The decals are large, static cling stickers that adhere to windows.  They let firefighters know that there are animals inside your home, what kids of pets you have, and how many are there.