Spirit EMS treats canine overcome by smoke


Staff report

SIDNEY — As firefighters from Lockington, Houston, Russia, and Sidney battled a garage fire on Little Turtle Way March 13, Spirit EMS workers were focused on tending to the needs of a canine overcome by the smoke.

Spirit’s Tyler Pratt and Alberto Benitez responded to the fire scene to assist firefighters with rehab and to standby for any unforeseen medical needs of anyone on scene. While there that Sunday morning, firefighters approached the EMS workers with Zoe, a 15-year-old canine who was inside the home when the fire broke out.

Upon being handed the dog by firefighters, Pratt and Benitez went to work right away, assessing and treating the dog.

“She initially presented with labored breathing and was very lethargic,” Pratt explained. “Several years ago, I took a class on CPR and aid for animals. It’s the first time I’d put that training to work.”

After several minutes on high flow humidified oxygen, the dog became more responsive to treatment.

“When the owner showed up and started calling out her name is when she really started to perk up,” Benitez recalled. “It was such a great feeling to see all of the teamwork that went into making sure we were able to do something to help Zoe.”

Benitez, who has been an EMT since July, also admits it was a first for him.

“I got into this profession to not only help people in some of their darkest moments, but for others to see the high level of customer service we provide as an EMS community,” he said.

The EMT rookie also shared throughout the time spent treating the dog, several firefighters checked in on Zoe’s progress.

“Everyone was cheering Zoe on,” he explained. “It was such an awesome feeling for everyone when she started to come around about 25 minutes or so into treating her.”

Pratt admitted while he had been through the training, he didn’t have the oxygen and CPR masks on the ambulance that are specifically made to treat animals in such emergencies. Nonetheless, he and Benitez were able to use supplies from the ambulance normally used to treat humans to care for Zoe.

“We suspected all along she was suffering from smoke inhalation,” Pratt explained. “The owners were so happy to see that one of their dogs made it out alive. Although they lost a lot that night, in the end everyone else was able to get out safely, we were also able to care for their dog, and reunite her with her family.”

Spirit EMS President/CEO Brian K. Hathaway applauded the EMS crew for their efforts.

“The actions of these two gentlemen are something they should be very proud of,” Hathaway said. “As a family-owned business, these men showed what Spirit EMS is all about. We are here to proudly serve and protect our friends and neighbors in Shelby County with exceptional and compassionate care, no matter what the circumstances. While it’s rare to run into these types of situations, it’s certainly good to hear Zoe was able to be treated by our crew and reunited with her loving family.”

In all, five people, including one child, were displaced by the fire. There were no injuries to any of the human occupants and/or emergency personnel on scene.

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