Feb 01 2012

Dog Saves Family from House Fire

A dog who rarely ever barks saved his family from a fire in their Haverhill, MA home on December 29th. His incessant barking woke them just in time to escape the raging blaze. “He really is a hero.” Evelyn Janes said of her dog Bear, a 1 year old dark-haired Goldendoodle. “I looked where he was barking and saw the dining room was really bright and when I looked out the door all I saw was fire,” she recalled

Rarely one to make a sound, Bear woke Janes shortly before 4 a.m. as she slept next to her 6-year-old twins, who had been given the special treat of sleeping in front of the Christmas tree in their living room. The twins’ older sister, Brianna, was at a friend’s house for a sleepover.

Through the fog of sleep, she tried to hush the barking dog until she saw a strange glow from her adjoining dining room. She then found flames shooting up the outside wall of her house. Bedding the children near the tree may have been a life-saving decision, as the girls’ second-floor bedroom sits amid the part of the home gutted by fire. It was the section of the house that received the most damage.

Janes, whose husband was working a late shift that night, bundled up the twins and rushed outside to find two newspaper carriers about to pound on the door and warn her. She entrusted the twins to them and returned to save Bear, still standing guard over the house. “I don’t know who they are. I don’t know their names. But they are a very important part of this,” Janes said. “I took the twins out to the truck and I ran back to get him and he was standing at the door.”

In a night full of heroes, she left her house for the last time with little Bear, only to find two of her neighbors, both local firefighters, sprinting to her family’s aid barefoot in pajamas. Andover firefighter Wayne Merola, and Haverhill firefighter Jake Rodney Nutter, ran into the house with no shoes and no firefighting gear to make sure no one was still in danger.

“The two of them went in the house just to check that no one was left inside. Then they went back in and brought out toys, they brought out the best of the kids’ toys under the Christmas tree,” Janes said. “When the fire department arrived, both of them were out there with no gear and no shoes, dragging hoses around and helping out. They were real heroes.”

Janes and her husband, happy to be alive but overwhelmed with the job ahead, began looking for a place to live and dealing with the logistics that come with such a loss. They gave thanks for the people of their community and are looking forward to restoring their home.

Wignall Animal Hospital |