UNION — A College Street man is in a hospital in Georgia after suffering burns to more than a third of his body after escaping from the fire that destroyed his home and then attempting to reenter the building in an unsuccessful attempt to save his dog.
Dean Brown, 58, 115 College St., is in the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, Ga., according to his brother, Jerry Brown, who lives at 116 College St.
Jerry Brown said his brother was initially injured escaping from the fire that broke out late Wednesday night. He said his brother then attempted to go back into the house to rescue his poodle, Abby.
“He was trying to save his dog,” Jerry Brown said Thursday morning. “He heard his dog crying and tried to go back in. He lost his wife about three years ago to cancer and that dog was all he had left.”
Brown said his brother’s attempt to save the dog only resulted in him suffering even more burns. He said he had to drag him away from the building and prevent him from making yet another attempt to save the animal.
“My wife and I held him over here,” Brown said. “We live across the road from him. If we hadn’t held him he’d have definitely gone back in for that dog a second time. We just had to hold him.”
Brown said he and his wife held his brother until emergency personnel arrived to begin giving him medical attention. His brother was later airlifted to the burn center where Brown said the staff is trying to stabilize his condition.
“They said he has burns on about 33 percent of his body,” Brown said. “He’s got burns on his chest, back and arms, but his face is the worst, it burned all his hair off. He’s down in Augusta and they’re trying to get him stable enough to do surgery.”
As for Abby, Brown said the dog did not survive, apparently killed when something fell on it before the flames reached it.
“I buried it this morning,” Brown said.
The Union Public Safety Department reported that firefighters were dispatched to the scene at 10:30 p.m., arriving five minutes later. The report stated that when they arrived, firefighters found fire coming out of the front side of the house and the porch.
Volunteers along with the Monarch and Southside fire departments were then called in to assist with fighting the fire. The fire was finally brought under control just after 1 p.m. and the last unit left the scene a short time later.
Damage to the building is estimated at $45,000 and to its contents at $20,000. The cause of the blaze is still under investigation.
Brown praised the fire department for its response.
“We’ve got one of the best fire departments in South Carolina,” Brown said. “They just seem to treat you like family where they are around. They do their jobs and do them real well.”
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.