Dog Saves Life- The Story Behind The Story (Don Ward)

By: Don Ward
By: Don Ward

Sometimes it's worth a trip.


You never know until you go!

In a busy TV newsroom there are almost always more things going on than there are people to take care of them.  On Monday we had a great example of the need to quickly decide which of those things matter more than others. 

We had reporters and photographers working on their stories. We had just wrapped up our afternoon meeting to decide how the evening crews were going to spend their work day. The police/fire scanners were squawking as they always do..then something cut through the clutter.

The familiar tones sounded indicating that the Colorado Springs Fire Department was sending a crew out on a call.  This happens all the time...but it's almost a conditioned response for news listen to what the dispatcher is saying....just in case.

This call came in as a structure fire at a home on Mira Loma. Again, this happens several times a day. Often it's nothing important, maybe food left on the stove that starts to put out some heavy smoke.  The cook-in-crisis calls 911...just in case.

We always listen closely as the first fire crew arrives on the scene,. Usually they radio back something like, "nothing showing"  which usually means there's not really much of a fire.  Sometime they'll report, "Fully engulfed"..then we scramble.  Often witness reports to the 911 dispatcher have already clued us in that a fire is a big deal, we're on our way before the FD gets there.  Often it's a report of, "light smoke showing"..again usually not a big deal but we keep listening.....just in case.

This time there were reports of some smoke in the home and possibly some this fire was a real "in-between-er".  Everyone is busy so the easiest thing to do is say, "Oh, no big deal"  and not send a news crew. This time though we weren't sure. 

We had about a 1 minute discussion in the newsroom.  It was probably nothing, but it might be a we sent a news photographer to get to the scene, to get some video...just in case.

That turned out to be a great decision.  When 11 News photographer Pedro Laumbach got there it wasn't a very impressive fire...but it WAS a very impressive story.  Pedro had the experience and took the initiative to ask around before he left, to see what happened....just in case.

Here's what happened.  A man named Michael Arrangio was taking a nap in his house when his pet lab came into the room and woke him up. He says the dog was determined to make sure he got up. That's when Michael says he realized the house was filling up with smoke.  There was apparently a problem with the basement fireplace.  Michael got out and the house filled up until the Fire Department got there.  Most house fire victims die from smoke inhalation.  Michael is certain that his dog saved his life!

Good dog!  Good story!  Here's a link to the video version as we aired it.

I don't think the other TV stations got this story.  You win some you lose some. We make quick decisions all day long in the 11 Newsroom. We got this story because we got this decision right when we decided to go...just in case. 

You never know until you go! 

We'll talk again soon. 

Don Ward


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