POULTNEY — A local firefighter was honored by the Rutland County Humane Society for rescuing six dogs from a house fire in early April.
Beth Saradarian, executive director of the society, said Thursday she hadn’t heard about the fire until she was contacted by Assistant Chief Bill Jones, of the Poultney Fire Department asking if she knew of any organizations that might honor Second Assistant Chief Nathan Bourn for his actions on April 3.
Saradarian said she was happy to have the Rutland County Humane Society be that organization.
“I was really happy that Bill had reached out,” she said. “I wouldn’t have known about it. We love doing stuff like this, but it’s pretty rare. I haven’t heard of another similar situation, otherwise we would have been there, too.”
Bourn, who’s been on the department for 11 years, said Thursday he lives down the street from where the fire took place and was the first to arrive on scene after a passerby saw smoke coming from a garage attached to a house and reported it.
Bourn said he saw a vehicle in the driveway and, fearing people were inside, entered the home to check.
“I kicked the door open from the breezeway to get into the house and then found the dogs in the house,” he said.
He made sure there were no people inside and then turned his attention to the dogs as the house began to fill with smoke.
Bourn said some of the dogs were in small kennels. With one of the bigger dogs, he simply pointed toward an open door and let it run out. Another dog kept running back inside while he saw to the others, but eventually all were evacuated safely.
By the time the first firetruck arrived, the house was too full of smoke to remain inside without an air pack, which he didn’t have on him at the time.
“I would expect anyone in the department would have done the same thing,” he said. “It’s just what we’re trained to do, it’s what’s right.”
Poultney Fire Chief Aaron Kerber said the department was dispatched at 4:20 p.m. and had the blaze under control in short order. The garage was a total loss, a nearby chicken coop was damaged, and the home itself was damaged by smoke. The cause isn’t known, but is believed to be electrical in nature and not considered suspicious.
Departments from Fair Haven, Castleton, Wells and Middletown Springs responded, as did departments from Hampton, Granville, and Whitehall, New York. There were no injuries reported.
He said Bourn did well and the department is proud of his effort.
“He’s always willing to step out and get the job done and lead by example,” said Kerber.