A dog in Berks County, Pennsylvania, performed a self-rescue after jumping from a second floor window to escape a house fire.
Charlie, presumed to be a Rottweiler-Pittie mix, features in a now-viral video taken and shared online by Justin Steinmetz, 40, the first person to arrive on the scene.
The Fleetwood resident was driving to work on the morning of April 27 when he saw smoke rising above a line of trees behind several homes. Justin said that “it didn’t look like a normal amount of smoke,” so he decided to turn and check where it was coming from. He then spotted the burning house.
He immediately pounded on the doors to alert its owners, but it quickly became clear that the house’s occupants, the Stump family, weren’t home.
Justin pounded on the neighbors’ doors to alert them of the fire as he didn’t have his phone with him at the time. They dialed 911, and he tried to douse out parts of the fire with a garden hose until firefighters arrived at the location.
“Shortly before 0800 am 4/27 the department along with Blandon and Walnuttown fire companies were sent on the initial alarm for a structure fire in the Borough,” wrote the Fleetwood Fire Company in a report posted to their official Facebook page.
Justin first filmed another dog who had just escaped the home’s burning lower level. The pup was clearly distressed, barking and running around the front lawn.
“Oh, hi puppy, come here buddy,” he can be heard reassuring the dog as it cries. “Come here, come here — I know, your house is on fire.”
Justin hears a commotion around the corner and hurries toward it to see Charlie perched at an open window on the second floor. He was howling in agony and frantically looking around, thinking about how he could escape. The poor dog was exhaling clouds of smoke.
Neighbors and rescuers below can be seen encouraging him to jump to safety.
“Come on, Charlie!” they called.
Finally, Charlie jumps into the arms of a rescuer waiting below, and the crowd rejoices.
“Good boy!” they all gushed, patting down the brave dog whose back appeared badly singed by the flames. Thankfully, despite his burned fur, Charlie seems to be doing well after the incident, as seen in the family’s photos on Facebook.
The full version of the video ends with one of the Stump couple’s school-age triplets, Katie, 18, holding a 16-year-old cat named Monkey who was “found in a lower level unharmed,” according to the Fleetwood firefighters. Sadly, another one of the family’s cats remains missing.
Despite the strong winds, firefighters were able to quell the blaze within 30 minutes. Unfortunately, the house appears to be a loss as it was burnt entirely.
The Stumps are currently staying with nearby relatives. Their friends created a GoFundMe for them, which has raised $49,000 as of this writing.
“Our hearts are broken for the Stump family,” its says on the page. “We are very grateful they are ok, but are painfully aware that their lives will be significantly impacted as a result of the devastating fire to their home today.”
Katie and her sister Abby lost their brand new prom dresses in the fire. Luckily, the Le Femme Boutique clothing shop in Allentown has gifted them with new ones with the help of a family friend.
The shop’s owner, Jane Heimbecker, heard about the fire in the news and called the family as soon as her store opened, according to an update on the Stump family’s Facebook page.
In a follow-up post, the girls are seen flaunting their gorgeous new gowns.
Fire marshals have yet to determine what started the fire, but it appears to be electrical and accidental.
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