Duke the "Temporary" Firedog

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 - 8:54am

During firehouse tours, Madison firefighters are often asked if they have a firedog. Nearly every firehouse featured in children's books and videos has a Dalmatian that lives with the firefighters. However, Madison's firehouses do not have firedogs.

For a few minutes on Sunday morning, however, the crew of Engine 10 was accompanied by a temporary firedog. An early morning fire on Madison's north side forced a family and two dogs out into the cold. One dog named Molly was caught by firefighters and returned to the owners. Duke, the second dog, ran away from the fire scene.

As they were returning to the station, Engine 10's crew spotted Duke a few blocks from the fire scene. When the engine stopped, Duke ran up to the firefighters and jumped into the cab of the fire engine. The firefighters started driving towards the North Police District where the family was waiting to meet with the Red Cross. Before they arrived at the police station, another fire call was received on the north side. Duke rode along with the firefighters to this call, but the fire was already out and their assistance was not needed.

Duke's assignment as a firedog ended a few minutes later when he was reunited with his family. Duke was happy to see his family and did not seem to be affected by the fire or the excitement of being a temporary firedog.

Firefighters are caring, helping people and often come to the aid of family pets at emergencies. Rescuing and assisting people always comes first, but pets are important members of every family. Firefighters and paramedics understand this and provide first aid for pets when time allows. Each ambulance in the city carries pet oxygen masks to assist animals that are suffering from smoke inhalation.

Sunday's fire at 1526 Comanche Glen was intentionally set and remains under investigation by the City of Madison Joint Fire/Police Investigation Unit. This unit is composed of fire department investigators and police detectives trained and experienced in determining the origin, cause, and circumstances surrounding fires and explosions. Unit members process fire scenes by examining burn patterns, identifying and collecting physical pieces of evidence, and interviewing witnesses to determine where and how a fire started.

  • Eric Dahl, 608-279-7148