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Off Duty Stamford Firefighter Responds Heroically

Saves family dog in burning Cheshire home

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Stamford, CT | Added on February 07, 2014 At 04:16 PM

This is the burning house Stamford firefighter Zach McArthur rushed into.  

"I immediately went towards the fire just to check to see if anyone was overcome by smoke and heat," said Stamford firefighter Zach McArthur.  

He was off-duty and without equipment.  

"My reaction basically was to get whoever was in that house out, because it wasn't looking good," said McArthur.

McArthur was driving along I-84 Eastbound.  That's when he saw plumes of smoke and pulled his car to the side of the highway.  He got out, and ran toward the fire.

"Ran down the embankment, hopped a fence, and into the house," said McArhur.  

Kicking down the home door, he dialed 911.  Then handed his phone to an onlooker as he charged into the Cheshire residence.  

"From there, I went to the back bedroom and started checking the bedrooms," said McArthur.

There, he found the family's dog.

"The dog kind of growled and bit at me the first time," said McArthur, "And I reached again and he let me pick him up and picked him up.  We went past the fire and out the front door."

McArthur brought the dog to safety and later learned of its special meaning to the family.

"From my understanding there was a child in the family that has leukemia and he's in remission and that was his dog.  So that made, to me that made everything I did even more."

At the house, he braved the smoke and flames again making a second search and found no one.  He got out, and waited for police, fire and EMS to arrive on scene.  

"It's nice to be able just to help people in general.  To keep them, and to be able to help," said McArthur.  

McArthur has worked with the Stamford Fire Department for 4 years.  His act of courage has been called "selfless" by Stamford Fire Captain Matthew Palmer.  In a release, Palmer said, "We're proud to have Zach as one of us."

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