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Dog alerts Monongahela man to first-floor blaze

| Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, 12:35 p.m.
Jim Ference | The Valley Independent
George Rodgers hugs his dog Pablo after the dog alerted him to a kerosene heater fire on the first floor of his Pleasant Street residence in Monongahela as he was working in the basement on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013. On scene were firefighters from Monongahela, Carroll Township and New Eagle, Bentleyville's Rapid Intervention Team, Monongahela Police and Tri Community Ambulance Service.
Jim Ference | The Valley Independent
George Rodgers hugs his dog Pablo after the dog alerted him to a kerosene heater fire on the first floor of his Pleasant Street residence in Monongahela as he was working in the basement on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013. On scene were firefighters from Monongahela, Carroll Township and New Eagle, Bentleyville's Rapid Intervention Team, Monongahela Police and Tri Community Ambulance Service.

Five years ago, George Rodgers took in a labrador mix he named Pablo. That move paid off richly Wednesday, the Monongahela man said.

“Today, he turned out to be my best friend,” Rodgers said.

“If it wasn't for him, I probably wouldn't be here.”

As Rodgers spoke Wednesday evening, the dog suffered a slightly singed paw, the result of “walking right through the fire.”

Rodgers was working in the basement of his home Wednesday afternoon, trying to repair a pump when Pablo came down the stairs “barking and making a commotion.”

Rodgers followed the animal upstairs to find a kerosene heater had ignited.

“I only left the kerosene heater for a matter of two or three minutes,” Rodgers said. “It went up in flames in a couple minutes.

“By the time I got up there, I was in a panic trying to get it out.”

Firefighters from Monongahela, New Eagle, Carroll Township and the Rapid Intervention Team out of Bentleyville as well as Monongahela police and Tri-Community Ambulance responded to the 3:07 p.m. call at Rodgers' 516 Pleasant St. residence.

Monongahela Fire Chief Frank Hnatik said there was smoke damage throughout the house as well as fire damage to carpets in the living room and porch. An entertainment center also was scorched, Hnatik said.

When firefighters arrived on the scene, Rodgers had pulled the heater onto the porch and was attempting to extinguish it. Firefighters extinguished all hot spots, Hnatik said.

Hnatik also recognized the heroic efforts of Pablo.

“It could have been dangerous,” Hnatik said. “(Rodgers) could have been trapped by the smoke.”

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or cbuckley@tribweb.com.

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