James Orander lost everything in the fire that consumed his mobile home on Christmas Day, except for his 8-year-old dog Lars, thanks to a quick-thinking neighbor.
Kathleen Peters received a phone call on Christmas morning about a mobile home fire in Pine Oaks Mobile Home Park, where she lives, and immediately left her home to see how she could help.
Peters, the retired property manager of the mobile home park in Burton, got to the home being rented by Orander and told a neighbor to call 911 as she grabbed a hose to try to put out the fire.
She knew that Orander, who was not home when the fire started, kept one of his three dogs, Lars, inside and that he was probably still in there.
She went straight for the door and opened it. Despite the billowing black smoke that poured from the mobile home, she went inside and picked up the dog, who was passed out on the floor.
“I don’t know how I did it. I think it was adrenaline that allowed me to pick him up,” Peters said about how she was able to lift and carry the more than 80-pound American Bandogge Mastiff.
Firefighters from the Burton Fire District arrived at the home on Joe Frazier Drive and extinguished the flames in under 15 minutes, according to the fire district. Firefighters were at the residence for more than three hours extinguishing smoldering embers, the district reported.
No one was injured in the fire, but Orander felt like it was a close call, he said.
Lars made it out of the house without significant burns to his body and no lung damage, according to Orander.
“She saved his life, and I am very grateful,” the 60-year-old U.S. Navy veteran said.
“Everything can be replaced but lives,” Peters said, “and to me a dog’s life is like a human’s life.”