Maxx, a German Shepherd, is being hailed as a hero for his help in saving the lives of two children after his family’s house in Longwood, Fla., went up in flames Monday night.
Neighbors who heard an explosion around 11:30 p.m. called 911 and rushed over to help the family.
“We heard a loud boom from a house that is just a couple houses down from here,” Chip Dover told News 6. “We saw orange flames coming out.”
Using patio furniture, Dover and his son, Andrew, were able to break windows and pull out Maxx’s dog mom, Seminole County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) Investigator Margo Feaser.
When firefighters arrived, they busted down the front door and rescued Feaser’s husband, Brent.
But the couple’s 2-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son were still inside the burning house.
Margo Feaser, a 12-year veteran of SCSO who also served overseas with the U.S. Army during Operation Enduring Freedom, had to be held back from running into the house to save her children. But Maxx stepped in and led the firefighters through flames and thick smoke to the boy and girl.
“I am not surprised, and it certainly tugs at my heart knowing that the majority of our dogs and our pets would do that for any one of us,” Dr. Chloe Magaldino of Sanlando Animal Hospital told WESH. “Even though a lot of us say, ‘My dog would not do that’ or ‘My dog is such a wimp,’ I can almost guarantee, nine times out of 10, that they would put your life, your safety, ahead of their own.”
Maxx was treated at a local veterinary hospital for smoke inhalation and minor burns to his paws. His family, however, remains hospitalized, with injuries ranging from serious to critical — but they all are expected to survive.
“We are grateful to the neighbors who jumped into action, and we especially thank the firefighters who selflessly entered the burning structure and risked their lives for the Feaser family,” Sheriff Don Eslinger said in a statement. “There is a long road of recovery and rebuilding ahead, but our Sheriff’s Office family will be with Margo and her family every step of the way. We know our community is behind them too, and we appreciate the tremendous outpouring of support the family has received.”
The fire, which completely destroyed the house, was accidental, according to the state fire marshal’s preliminary investigation. It started on the back porch.
To help the Feaser family pay their medical and veterinary bills as well as temporary housing expenses, a GoFundMe page has been created. As of this morning, more than $17,800 has been donated.
You can also make a contribution by check to the “Seminole County Sheriff’s Office Employee Benevolent Fund” and send it to 100 Bush Boulevard, Sanford, FL 32773, Attention: “Feaser Family Fund.”
Photos via GoFundMe.com