MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. — It was the whine that was just in time.
It could have ended much differently if it weren't for some firefighters in Muskegon County, Michigan and their brave rescue in a large house fire.
"We didn't think they would survive," said Adam Morse, a firefighter and fire inspector for Egelston Township Fire Department.
First responders were called to a large house fire early Saturday morning. Their actions over the next couple hours are what's earning them a new nickname.
"They're superheroes in our book," said Lana Carson, director of Pound Buddies Animal Shelter.
When they arrived, they found smoke pouring out of the roof of an Egelston Township home and got to work.
"They're just drenched in sweat, they're just dirty. They're just filled with all of this smoke," said Carson, describing the firefighters when she first arrived to the scene.
That's when they found out there was five puppies still inside the burning home — so naturally, they headed inside.
"At the time is just you do it. It's your job," said Dan Minzey Jr., a firefighter with Egelston Township.
They did an initial search and couldn't find anything as the smoke clouded their view.
As they continued fire suppression, though, they heard a faint sound — the sound of a puppy whining. That's what led them to a back bedroom.
"When we opened that door, all that black heavy smoke was still in there," said Morse.
They made a discovery they'll remember for a lifetime.
"There was the puppies, and they were very lifeless. We were able to pick them up and hand them out the window but they just kind of just draped over your hand as you hand them out," Morse explained.
The firefighters were sure it was a failed rescue mission.
"I didn't think they would make it. I didn't think even one would make it," Morse said.
They placed them in a car and hooked them up to pet oxygen masks, but they had to get back to work fighting the flames.
After a short time, the roof caved in. Thankfully, no one was injured, but the house is a complete loss.
After the fire was out, they decided to check in on their new friends, expecting the worst.
"They were hyper and alive, they were ready to get out in the truck and jumping around," said Shane Ingersoll, a firefighter with Fruitport Township Fire Department.
Over the next few days, the puppies would all make a full recovery at Pound Buddies in Muskegon — thanks to the rescuers who walked into a burning building to save them.
"Anybody could have went into those rooms and got those dogs but we were lucky enough to do it," smiled Morse.
“We just consider that as above and beyond, it's just so much more than a job. It's a calling that they do that,” said Carson.
The firefighters have already been back to visit the puppies at Pound Buddies, where they will be up for adoption by the end of the week.
"They saw the puppies and the puppies literally just ran out, just you know, their paws all up, ran towards them," Carson laughed. “You have these two grown men and and they're just down on the ground, just you know, absorbing all the love from these puppies.”
The puppies were each given fire-themed names, so their future adopters always remember where they came from. The dog who alerted fire crews to their location is now aptly named Siren, while the others are Chief, Blaze, Phoenix and Ash.
You can keep up-to-date on their adoptions on the Pound Buddies website here.
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