LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Three Bullitt County first responders are being credited with saving three dogs and a cat from a burning home.
Officers Todd Sweeney and Derek Nalley of Mount Washington Police Department responded to a house fire Saturday morning on Highway 44 near Hubbard Lane.
Ofc. Sweeney said the two officers were just down the road and arrived before the fire department.
Sweeney said smoke was billowing from the home and they could hear dogs barking inside.
“We knew we couldn't just sit here and wait for them to arrive on scene knowing that we might have someone inside and knowing we had animals inside,” Sweeney said.
The officers kicked in the door and navigated through heavy smoke to rescue the family’s three Saint Bernards. Minutes later, firefighters arrived and began going room-to-room. Firefighter Mike Gravens rescued a cat that was trapped inside.
First responders rushed the cat, named Mario, to Elk Creek Animal Hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation. As of Monday afternoon, Mario was doing well and expected to reach a full recovery.
“Our main concern was that there was no one in the house and we just thank God that nobody was in the home and we were able to get these dogs out,” Ofc. Nalley said. “We are very, very blessed nothing else went wrong and nobody was inside the home.”
Mandy Minzenberger lives in the home with her husband and 9-year-old son Caleb. She was visiting her husband in the hospital Saturday morning when she received a call from Ofc. Nalley, telling her that their home had caught fire.
“When I got here all three dogs were safe in the back yard and they looked perfectly fine and happy,” Minzenberger said. “That’s all that mattered. My husband is fine, my kid is fine and the dogs are fine. Stuff can be replaced, and you know, people and animals can’t.”
It’s not yet clear what caused the fire, however there has been speculation that it could have been electrical in nature. Minzenberger said it will be several days before her family learns the full extent of the damage to their home. The fire destroyed one bedroom and left smoke and water damage throughout the house.
Several singed and soaked board games, once stored in the room that sustained the most damage, could be seen scattered throughout a pile of ruined items.
“All of Caleb’s board games were in that room, and because of his autism, that’s the one thing that he likes to do all the time. So part of our Christmas recovery will be rebuilding that back,” Minzenberger said.
Minzenberger said she is extremely grateful for all of the first responders who helped salvage her home and rescue her pets, as well as the staff at Elk Creek Animal Hospital who took care of her family’s cat.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the family get through the holidays: https://www.gofundme.com/mandy-scott-fire-medical
“There’s no good time for a house fire, but unfortunately for this family it was during Christmas time,” Ofc. Sweeney said. ”Hopefully they can get everything rebuilt and get moved back in in a timely manner.”