Local/State

Dog named Bandit saves family from hair brush fire

Thursday, November 11, 2010

It is still the talk of the town in Mays Landing, New Jersey: the bizarre cause of a house fire, a brush with death for everyone inside, and an unlikely hero that saved the day and saved lives.

Jennifer and Rich Destefani and 9-year-old daughter Maya Rose could have been seriously injured or worse last weekend in a brush fire.

No, it's not the kind you might think.

A hair brush was being sterilized in a pot of boiling water. Jennifer is a hairdresser and says she sometimes uses the method to sanitize brushes; this time, unbeknownst to her, husband Rich put the pot on the stove.

The brush smoldered for hours and eventually black smoke filled the house while the family slept. Fortunately, there was a bandit in the house, and no, not the kind you might think.

Bandit is a Pomeranian Poodle Mix. He belongs to a friend and was spending the night with the Destefanis.

"He was jumping on my chest and barking, I said, 'Bandit, stop,' and then I smelled the smell," Jennifer said.

Jennifer suffered some chest and throat discomfort, but otherwise everyone in the house was OK and a smoke alarm they say was late to activate went back to the store.

Bandit's owner, Ryan Leitz, is pretty proud of his pet's heroism.

"He's so cute and doesn't seem like the type of dog that would be able to be called a hero, but, I guess, anything can happen," Leitz said.

"I believe there is a reason he was here; I believe in miracles and he's definitely a hero and a miracle dog," Jennifer said.

Jennifer says sometimes miracles come in peculiar ways. This time she believes it was in the form of a 15 pound curly haired pooch.

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Tags:
new jersey, atlantic county, fire, local/state, cathy gandolfo
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