Firefighters praised for rescuing Islip Terrace woman and 3 dogs from house fire

TERRACE ISLIP, NY — A 19-year-old Suffolk County woman and her three large dogs are lucky to be alive, thanks to specialized dog rescue training.

As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Monday, the excited family thanked volunteer firefighters for being in the right place at the right time.

“I can’t even begin to tell you what you’ve done for our family,” Tara Piniella told them.

Piniella suppressed her emotions after volunteer firefighters saved her daughter and then entered a smoke-filled house to rescue her other babies: three dogs.

“My house can be replaced. My daughter can’t. My dogs can’t,” Piniella said. “Can I give someone a hug?”

On Sunday morning, with her daughter fast asleep, a canine security camera indicated that the house was filling with smoke.

“I could hear my dogs crying. I called my daughter. I called and called and called. I said, ‘You have to get out of the house. The house is on fire,'” Piniella said.

A frantic 911 call from her daughter trapped in the basement prompted Islip Terrace firefighters to pull her out a window, unharmed.

Unbelievably, firefighters came in and searched for the three dogs. Helmet cam video shows the discovery of Brutus, a Siberian husky, unconscious in the kitchen.

“There was a dog lying under a chair and debris from the ceiling and window that blew out. The dog was not moving at all, he was dead weight at the time,” Islip Fire Department Lt. Connor Milton said.

Cowering upstairs were two larger dogs.

“Both of them were barely breathing. We immediately started giving the dogs oxygen. I was able to get the dog on an advanced airway,” the 1st assistant said. Chief Jared Gunst said.

They cooled off the dogs with fire hoses and treated the burns. Gunst, who is also a Suffolk Police paramedic, had just undergone some unusual canine rescue training for police dogs.

“It’s quite unusual to really learn about the medical treatment of these animals,” Gunst said.

“I saw them do CPR like they would on a person, in my front yard,” Piniella added.

Theodore, a Malamute, suffered smoke inhalation. Luna, another Husky, was burned.

“How is it possible that he got this training like days before and put it to use on three dogs that needed him to be there that day?” Piniella said.

Their home is lost, but one by one the dogs will recover. The family credits an unthinkable community effort and says they will be eternally grateful.

Firefighters said they didn’t think twice. They said they all have their own dogs and treat them like family.

The cause of the fire, which is believed to be non-criminal, is under investigation.

Islip Terrace firefighters Matthew Arthurs and Danny Blasucci broke the basement window and pulled the woman to safety.

If you want to help the family, click here.

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