A Santa Ana family who lost their home to an accidental fire nearly lost their young pet Chihuahua who was trapped in the home as all, but the dog was saved by the sweater it was wearing.
Firefighters worked to extinguish a blaze at a home in the 3300 block of West Camille Street Wednesday morning when the pup came running from the front of the burning structure.
Santa Ana Police Department Animal Services Supervisor Sondra Berg responded and examined the dog to assess its injuries.
“The first thing that I noticed was that it had a little sweater on that was literally melted to its fur,” Berg said. “The sweater was so crisp it was almost like plastic on the outer layer.”
She cut the sweater off with a knife, but found the animal was virtually unscathed underneath. Millie's tail and paws were burned.
Berg said she was ready to pay for the dog’s care herself, but when she took Millie to the 17th Street Animal Hospital, the staff said they would do the work for free.
“She got extremely lucky she was wearing a protective sweater,” said veterinarian Dr. David Weber of 17th Street Animal Hospital. “She’s here because of it.”
Millie’s owners, who did not want to speak about the fire, escaped without harm, but their home was destroyed.
A female resident of the home was treated for anxiety symptoms she experienced because ofMillie's injuries, the Orange County Register reported.
An electrical malfunction was suspected of causing the accidental fire, Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi said.
An estimated $175,000 in damage was caused to the home, as well as to a back house that was impacted. The loss of the contents in the home amounted to some $80,000, Concialdi said.
The four adults and two children who lived in the home have been displaced, as well as three people in the back house.
A GoFundMe.com fundraiser page has been set up to benefit Millie and the Avila family.
"Thankfully, she was able to escape, although she did receive third-degree burn on her paws and was saved from burning her skin because of the sweater she was wearing," the page reads. "We are asking for your help in this time of need."