Family dogs rescued from house fire in north St. Louis County

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Firefighters with the Riverview Fire Protection District are being hailed as heroes Wednesday after rescuing two special family members from a burning house.

The husband and wife were at work and their nine-year-old daughter at school when the fire broke out. But two favorite family members were stuck inside.

“Thank you very, very, very much we really appreciate it,” said homeowner Quanita Rhodes.

The family dogs, Rider and Rocco, will live to bark another day, thanks to Riverview firefighters and crews from three other departments.

“We can find another place to stay, but our dogs are part of the family,” said Eddie Pritchard, who lives in the home with Rhodes.

The fire was hot and smoky. Neighbors told firefighters the dogs were inside and they made a quick rescue of the pups.

“It was probably maybe a matter of another minute or two before the smoke would have taken them,” Riverview Fire Protection Chief Keith Goldstein said.

The chief said the fire began after a resident dumped embers from a fire pit into the trash, thinking they were out. They apparently smoldered overnight and the fire spread while the family was gone.

“The wind is what the biggest factor was in this fire,” Goldstein said.

The heat melted the siding on a neighboring home and the fire spread through dry grass in the backyard.

But there was a great deal of relief that rider and Rocco are okay.

“That’s the silver lining. My dogs are okay,” Rhodes said.

And she offered a tip of the helmet to firefighters.

“They’re heroes definitely, definitely,” she said.

Riverview firefighters said about 10 family pets every year, Chief Goldstein said.

“It’s what we do. This is our job. We do what we’re trained form” he said.