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Firefighters lauded for rescuing Islip Terrace woman, 3 dogs from house fire

Islip firefighters lauded for rescuing woman, 3 dogs from house fire
Islip firefighters lauded for rescuing woman, 3 dogs from house fire 02:12

ISLIP TERRACE, N.Y. -- A 19-year-old Suffolk County woman and her three large dogs are lucky to be alive, thanks to specialized canine rescue training.

As CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reported Monday, the emotional family thanked volunteer firefighters who were in the right place at the right time.

"I can't even begin to tell you what you've done for our family," Tara Piniella told them.

Piniella choked back emotions after volunteer firefighters saved her daughter and then went into a smoky house to rescue her other babies -- three dogs.

"My house can be replaced. My daughter can't. My dogs can't," Piniella said. "Can I give someone a hug?"

On Sunday morning, with her daughter sound asleep, a dog security camera indicated the house was filling with smoke.

"I could hear my dogs crying. I called my daughter. I called and called and called. I said, 'You need to get out of the house. The house is on fire,'" Piniella said.

A frantic 911 call from her daughter trapped in the basement led to Islip Terrace firefighters pulling her out of a window, uninjured.

Incredibly, firefighters then went inside and searched for the three dogs. Helmet camera video shows the discovery of Brutus, a Siberian husky, unconscious in the kitchen.

"There was a dog laying underneath a chair and debris from the ceiling and window that blew out. The dog wasn't moving at all, at the time was dead weight," Islip Fire Department Lt. Connor Milton said.

Cowering upstairs were two more large dogs.

"They were both barely breathing. We immediately started giving the dogs oxygen. I was able to administer an advanced airway into the dog," 1st Asst. Chief Jared Gunst said.

They cooled the dogs with fire hoses and treated burns. Gunst, who is also a Suffolk police paramedic, had just gone through uncommon canine rescue training for police dogs.

"It's pretty unheard of to actually learn medical treatment of these animals," Gunst said.

"I watched them do CPR like they would do on a person, on my front lawn," Piniella added.

Theodore, a Malamute, suffered smoke inhalation. Luna, another Husky, was burned.

"How is this possible that he got this training like days before and put it to use on three dogs that needed him to be there that day," Piniella said.

Her home was lost, but, one by one, the dogs will recover. The family credits an unthinkable community effort, saying they will be forever grateful.

The firefighters said they didn't think twice about it. They said they all have dogs of their own and treat them as family.

The cause of the fire, which is believed to be non criminal, is under investigation.

Islip Terrace firefighters Matthew Arthurs and Danny Blasucci broke the basement window and pulled the woman out to safety.

If you would like to help the family, please click here.

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