Firefighters work to extinguish a suspicious blaze which destroyed structures and injured several dogs that were trapped in an enclosed pen on property located on O’Connor Rd. west of S. Main Thursday morning. (Mark Wilson Photos)
Two dogs were badly burned in a fire, Thursday morning, when an unidentified man unlawfully burned his dilapidated mobile home on Oâ€™Connor Road, west of South Mainâ€ˆStreet. The dogs were treated for smoke inhalation and severe burns at South Springs Animal Hospital after being rescued by the Roswell and Sierra County Fire departments.
â€œIt burned her down to bare skin on her face and back and just all over,â€ Lt. Mike Wood, of the Chaves County Sheriffâ€™s Office, said about the female dog.
Wood says the owner of the single-wide trailer unlawfully set his home ablaze to clear the property instead of just hauling the structure to a landfill. The trailer had been damaged about a month or two ago when a space heater accidentally set it on fire.
But Wood says the wind picked up early this morning just as the blaze began, causing the fire to spread throughout the property to nearby utility poles with live electric wiring as well as the outdoor cage containing the two dogs.
â€œHe didnâ€™t bother accounting for the wind; he didnâ€™t bother accounting for some of the materials he burned, like insulation tubes; and most important, he didnâ€™t account for the two dogs caged up next door to the trailer house,â€â€ˆWood said.
Firefighters jumped into action when they saw the dogs in trouble, Wood said. Some firefighters hosed the dogs down to provide instant relief from the heat, while others cut the mesh wiring of the cage. He said they worked as quickly as possible to get to the dogs, but the female dog was â€œsmokingâ€â€ˆby the time they got to her.
The property owner was charged with animal cruelty and unlawful use of fire, according to the Sheriffâ€™s Office. It is also likely he will be facing charges from the Environmental Protection Agency for the method in which he disposed of his home.
Wood says the firefighters should be commended for their quick action and bravery in a dangerous situation.
â€œThe guys that ran into that blaze should be commended for that,â€ he said. â€œIt was just very dangerous.â€
Wood added,” We filed charges against the property owner, but it shouldnâ€™t have happened to begin with. It put a lot of resources and a lot of lives in jeopardy.â€