First responders in northwest Indiana save 7 dogs from garage fire

HEBRON, Ind. – Police saved seven dogs from a garage fire in northwest Indiana Tuesday.

According to Indiana State Police, Trooper Justin Hansen was on patrol in Porter County when he was alerted to a fire at 535 South 500 West in Porter Township around 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Hansen is also a volunteer fireman with the Boone Grove Fire Department. When he arrived at the scene, he saw thick, black smoke coming from the garage windows. Deputies from the Porter County Sheriff’s Department, two officers from the Hebron Police Department and the Hebron fire chief were also on the scene.

The first responders went inside the garage, where they found seven dogs unconscious from smoke inhalation; two of the dogs were pregnant, police said.

Hansen and the others removed the dogs from the building and immediately started CPR. They also gave the dogs oxygen in an effort to revive them. Some of the officers and neighbors blew air into the dogs’ lungs; when emergency medical help arrived, crews were able to use “pet masks” to help the dogs.

The officers then put the dogs in their squad cars and took them to area animal hospitals for additional treatment. Hansen drove one of the most severely injured dogs to an animal hospital in Valparaiso while Kouts fireman Mike Luzack administered CPR in the back seat.

The dogs, all Labradors owned by a local breeder, survived.

Boone Grove Fire Chief Mike Meinert said this was only the third time in 10 years that the department has used the pet masks, which were donated by a caring citizen.

As for the fire, Meinert said it didn’t appear to be suspicious in nature. Investigators believe a heat lamp in the garage may have sparked it.

Others who helped save the dogs include Hebron Fire Chief Chad Franzman, Porter County sheriff’s deputies Mike Piazza and Tyler Williams, Hebron officers Josh Noel and Casey Robinson, the Boone Grove Fire Department, Porter County EMS and Porter County Animal Control.