North Park

Rescue Pup Killed in North Park Apartment Fire, 8 Residents Displaced

Firefighters gave the dog oxygen and CPR, then he was rushed to a veterinary hospital in Mission Valley

NBC Universal, Inc.

An apartment fire in North Park Wednesday morning displaced eight people and, despite lifesaving efforts by first responders, a beloved puppy did not survive.

The pup’s name was Dexter. He was a rescue, adopted just four months ago by the couple whose apartment caught fire. Neighbors say his death is having an impact on all of the dog owners in the neighborhood.

“All the dogs are pretty friendly,” neighbor Timothy Rutherford said about the community of dogs near Boundary Street and Meade Avenue. “They rough house and stuff. Yeah, it is a good community of dog lovers.”

The common area of Rutherford’s apartment complex is effectively dog happy hour every afternoon for his husky Samantha and the rest of the canine residents. At Wednesday’s gathering though, there were few smiles.

“We have all of our dogs play together, so it kind of almost feels like a human loss as a neighbor,” Rutherford said.

The fire broke out in a second-floor unit across from Rutherford. The tenants were at the gym at the time, but their dogs were at home. Harriet survived without injury, but firefighters say Dexter, who was less than a year old, became overwhelmed by smoke and stopped breathing.

“The fire department was already there before I knew there was even a fire,” Rutherford said. “They were definitely on top of it.”

Firefighters brought Dexter outside and gave him oxygen and started CPR. After trying to resuscitate Dexter at the scene, he was brought VCA Animal Hospital near Hotel Circle in a police patrol car. Vet technicians say it was all hands on deck, but despite their best efforts, they could not save him.

Dexter’s death weighs heavy on the hearts of the women who adopted him less than four months ago.

His human, Elizabeth Weiss, told NBC 7, “We love the firefighters and we appreciate everything they did.”

Rutherford knew Dexter as the pup always looking down on the other dogs playing from the very window in which he first saw the flames.

It is a stark reminder of what can happen when your pets are left alone.

“It’s scary since it just happened while they are gone. It felt like it could happen any time, randomly, so of course it’s terrifying,” he said. “It’s sad to see a dog that has been nothing but loving and playful, die.“

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined but the couple that lives in the unit says it started in an unused outlet behind a couch.

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