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  • Glenn Kahl

Firefighters Save Soot-Covered Dog During House Fire


Ripon firefighters braved heavy smoke and fire towering above the trees early Saturday morning to save the life of a soot-covered eight-month-old bulldog, called Eisle, from the smoke-filled house.

Austin Bauchnect was the first to reach the animal struggling to breathe and handed him off to Scott Scheffel and Salida firefighter Jessee McDaniel who gave the dog medical attention to restore his breathing in the 2 a.m. fire on West Ripon Road between Fredrick and Austin roads. McDaniel utilized a pet resuscitation kit on their fire engine to revive the family pet.

The family was away for the weekend on a camping trip in the Motherlode when they got the news their home had been destroyed by the middle of the night fire. The children included a five-year-old girl, a boy, and a girl both 10, another daughter 15, and a son 17. Had they all been at home the fire could possibly have claimed all of them — all safe camping in Placerville.

House sitting was a family-related couple who were asleep when the woman reported hearing crackling noises that woke her up, followed by a loud explosion. The call was reported at 2:08 AM and by the time Ripon firefighters arrived 8 minutes later the home was reportedly fully engulfed in flame. Ripon responded with 4 units, and mutual aid coming from Salida, Lathrop Manteca, Manteca City, and Collegeville also. Later into the incident, Ripon’s 110-foot ladder truck was extended over the home in an effort to extinguish the blazing roof, as the interior was gutted and only the walls and some roof were left standing.

The male relative who was house-sitting with his wife said the Farmington Fire Department had saved his life some 10 years ago when he was engulfed in fire. Several tell-tale scars remained visible with him having been burned on much of his body in that fire. He said he had put the fire out himself and was able to make his way down the driveway and hold out his arms in an effort to flag down the incoming fire trucks.

The Ripon fire was said to be electrical in nature after the San Joaquin County Fire Investigation Unit had been at the scene that remained active until after 10:30 Saturday morning.

A charred shotgun and a family album with cherished photographs of the family’s children had been placed in the back yard by firefighters. Both showed signs of being in a fire. The woman relative recalled the whole house shaking before she heard the explosion. She said she woke her husband and then let two of the family dogs outside to safety.

Early in the fire, a nearby neighbor in the rural setting ran from his home to help and ended up directing traffic on West Ripon Road.

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