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Firefighters pull dog from Oro-Medonte house fire 0

By Roberta Bell, Orillia Packet & Times

ORO-MEDONTE - 

An hour and a half after firefighters began battling the blaze that consumed an Oro-Medonte home Wednesday morning, the family pet was still trapped inside.

“The firefighters found the dog in the back of the house,” Oro-Medonte Fire Chief Hugh Murray told The Packet & Times.

Murray said the dog was still conscious and breathing as crews emerged from the smoke carrying the pet. The dog was hooked up to an oxygen mask on a stretcher just after 11 a.m. and rushed to the vet by a family friend and is expected to recover.

Neighbour Harvey Johnstone noticed the smoke coming from the Line 9 home, just north of Ridge Road, from the window of his farmhouse across the street shortly after 9 a.m.

“I thought it had started snowing really heavy and then I opened my door,” said Johnstone, who was immediately taken aback by the smell.

He drove across the road and up the driveway to the house and blasted his horn to make sure nobody was inside.

“At that time, smoke was just coming under the eaves and around the chimney,” he said, but “it was more than I could handle.”

Johnstone called 911.

More than 30 firefighters and four tankers from stations in Hawkestone, Shanty Bay, Rugby and Horseshoe Valley were dispatched to the blaze, Murray said.

More than two-and-a-half hours later, they were still battling flames erupting from the roof of the old two-storey, white stucco farmhouse as the homeowner, who declined to speak with The Packet & Times after arriving on scene, watched.

“There’s just that one corner that’s really stubborn they’re working away on,” Murray said as he watched crews douse the northeast corner of the home with water.

“They’re just having difficulty getting to it. They’re having a hard time in the wall,” he said. “It’s under control. It’s not going anywhere else.

“The rest of the upstairs is out.”

Murray, who pegged the damage at about $400,000, doesn’t think anything in the home will be salvageable.

“When you get a lot of heat, everything starts to melt,” he said, noting there was extensive smoke and heat damage.

“It’ll be a write-off,” he said.

Crews continued to struggle with hotspots into the afternoon.

“There was a wood stove in there,” Murray said. “But it’s not confirmed that that was the cause of (the fire).”

Although he hadn’t had a chance to check with the homeowner, he suspected she has insurance.

roberta.bell@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @roberta__bell

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