Baby stuck in a house fire. Family dog didn’t leave her until she was rescued.
By Nour Rahal, Detroit Free Press,
DETROIT – When their one-year-old baby was stuck in a house fire, their family dog would not leave her side until she was rescued .
On Feb. 21, a fire broke out in a multi-family home in Detroit.
Janet Kelley, a mother of four, said the fire started in the unit below them, where another family lives. One of the children in that unit was playing with a lighter in the bedroom and lit up a mattress.
The downstairs tenants came running up to alert everyone, but black smoke had already filled both units. The fire quickly spread upstairs and “over to the house next door,” Kelley said.
Kelley’s 1-year-old daughter was still stuck in a playpen inside the house when firefighters arrived, she said. The family dog, Blue, refused to leave the house and “alerted rescue to where she was located.”
After losing everything in the fire, Janet Kelley, her fiancé DaQuan Davis, her four children and Blue are staying at a nearby hotel.
A ‘very protective dog’
Blue, a three-year-old Pitbull Lab mix, is a rescue dog that Kelley has had for two years.
“(Blue) is very protective over all of us,” she said. “He also loves his best friend Smokey, the family cat.”
Smokey could not be brought to the hotel due to a lack of room. He is still wandering around the damaged house – so Kelley checks on him and takes Blue over to play with him.
At the time of the fire, Kelley and her fiancé, Davis, were at Walmart with her two oldest children, who are 7and 9 years old.
“I got a phone call that the house was on fire. My fiancé’s brother was at the home and he’s the one that called.” she said. “He was trying to rush and get the dog, the kids, and everybody out of the house.”
‘Nothing was salvageable’
Currently, the family is living out of a minivan but was able to rent a hotel room for two nights after $290 was donated to their GoFundMe campaign .
With no renter’s insurance, Kelley and her family are not able to get compensation for their losses and their landlord’s only response has been “to start a GoFundMe page and go to a shelter,” she said.
“I just paid him (the) rent two days prior to this, so when I asked him if he could give me something back, I got told ‘No, I have bills, too,'” she said.
A family friend, Poni Melange, has been advocating for the family.
“The reality is that when you are in a fire situation, there is little help out there to get people back on their feet as renters,” Melange said in a news release.
“Most infrastructure designed to help, are overworked and have very little benefits to provide,” Melange said. “This leaves families like Janet’s, who lost her own mother (two) years ago, in dire positions.”
“I truly just want my kids to be safe and warm and to be kids,” Kelley said. “Not worry about where we are sleeping every night.”
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