PIERRE, S.D.(KSFY) - A dog is recovering in Pierre after a fire broke out in a multi-unit garage just after midnight on Tuesday. According to the Pierre Fire Chief, it looks like the fire was set accidentally.
Theresa Jimenez met the firefighters who saved her dog's life for the first time Tuesday afternoon. She woke up earlier that day to the sound of them arriving.
"It was a nightmare. We didn't expect anything like this to happen. So I just jumped up and grabbed all the kids and said 'Let's go. Let's get out of here.'" she said. "And then that's when they remembered that we had a dog in number three, and I couldn't get to her. I asked the police if I could go get to her, but they wouldn't let me get her."
Ryan Cumbow is a volunteer firefighter with the Pierre Fire Department. When he arrived on scene, he was told to look for a pet that may be in one of the garages.
"The whole room was full of smoke. You couldn't see anything. It was just whiteout," Cumbow said.
He used a thermal imaging camera that detects heat to find Zena lying on the ground, almost immediately.
"When I picked it up, it was just real loose, and I didn't know if it was going to survive or not," he said.
He passed the dog to another firefighter with the department while he continued searching.
"We started doing compressions right away. There was actually smoke coming out of her lungs as we were doing compressions," Sean Kruger said, who is a volunteer firefighter for the Pierre Fire Department.
It took a little more than an hour for Zena to fully recover.
"A police man stopped me, and he said 'We found your dog.'" Jimenez said. "I thought the worst-case scenario, and I said okay. He said 'She's alive.' And I was like oh my gosh. Thank god."
"And I open the door and there's this puppy that he's petting, and it's kind of wiggling around a little bit. I'm like wow that's the dog," Cumbow said.
"Feels good. Doesn't always work out the best. Sometimes you don't find pets in time. It's cool that this one worked out well," Kruger said.
Jimenez said she is grateful for the firefighters who helped save her dog. The reason why the dog was in the garage is because she was staying at her relative's house to help take care of her grandkids. The relative didn't want the dog in the house, so she put her in the garage overnight. Zena suffered from smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning.