Last night, during the evening hours, the city of Chicago and the surrounding suburbs were battered by high winds. The high winds caused problems all over the city. Trees and streetlights were blown down, causing traffic closures and dust blew across I-88, forcing a closure there as well. For one family, however, the high winds nearly cost lives.
The incident happened on Thursday night, at about 11:45 p.m., in the Chicago suburb of Plainfield, IL. The family in question was asleep when their dog, Payton, began to bark. While this might have been an annoyance for many, this time it saved lives. The house was on fire.
According to Plainfield Fire Department Deputy Police Chief Jon K. Stratton, “The homeowner said they got woke up by the dog, that’s what woke them up to get them out of the house.”
The fire department was sent to the home located in the 16000 block of South River Road. When they got there they found that the entire back half of the house was engulfed in flames. The fire was concentrated in an area near the walk-out basement and the entrance located there. The wind was causing the fire to blow directly back into the home and the high winds were causing the fire to catch more rapidly than would have been normal, putting the entire family in jeopardy.
According to the fire officials, the entire back end of the house was completely in flames and there was a risk that the entire house could be consumed. Of even more concern was that the mother of the family was asleep in the basement room, on the couch, right where the flames were the most concentrated.
The frantic barking of the dog evidently awoke the son who then got the rest of his family up. The family was able to get out of the house and no one was injured or killed.
As for the house, the damage from the fire was extensive as fire fighters still had to battle the intense winds. Estimates are that the flames caused between $350,00 to $400,000 worth of damages.
Both the family and the fire department are calling the incident incredibly lucky and citing the barked warnings of Payton as key factors in the fact that no family members were injured or killed. Today, Payton is being hailed as a hero.
Photo of puppies courtesy of Morguefile.com (dogs pictures are not related to story)