Flower man saves day
Friday, February 15, 2008
AUBURN - A flower-delivery man likely saved a house from burning and a dog from dying for the perfect Valentine's Day gift Thursday.
No one was home when Ann's Flower Shop driver Douglas Haines tried to deliver flowers to 33 Lafayette St., according to firefighters. Haines, a former fire captain for the town of Poland, saw smoke coming from the house and dialed 911.
The house is on a dead-end street where the fire may have been missed if not for Haines.
Auburn firefighters arrived and quickly knocked down the blaze and pulled an unconscious dog from inside the home.
Firefighters carried 10-year-old Kasey, a lab mix, from the home, wrapped him in blankets and revived him with oxygen.
In the meantime, other firefighters from the Auburn and Lewiston departments were able to control the blaze and keep it confined to the kitchen and back room, fire officials said.
The fire was started by an electric stove burner that was left on, Fire Prevention Officer Gary Simard said. The house had lost power the night before, he said.
Kasey was later listed in stable condition at Lewiston Veterinary Hospital, a spokeswoman there said.
He was hooked up to fluids intravenously and was put on oxygen and steroid therapy in the intensive care unit. The veterinarians are encouraged by his recovery, the spokeswoman said, noting he'd wagged his tail during a short trip outdoors.
Assistant Auburn fire Chief Mike Minkowsky, one of the firefighters who attended to Kasey, said the dog was limp and had shallow breathing when he and others wrapped him in blankets and cleared his airway.
After about five minutes of getting oxygen, Kasey appeared to regain consciousness, Minkowsky said. He credited quick action by firefighters, who carried Kasey outside and went back inside the smoky house in search of other occupants.
"They really made a difference," Minkowsky said. "It was a great group effort."
The house, owned by Jeffrey and Rena Wilkins, sustained up to $75,000 damage and is uninhabitable but insured, Simard said. The Wilkinses are planning to stay with relatives, he said.
After talking to firefighters, Haines said he brought the flowers back to the shop rather than bothering Mrs. Wilkins. "I figured she had bigger things to worry about than flowers and balloons."