Pit Bull Saves Woman From Burning Home, Praised as 'Town Hero'

Monday, 06 May 2013 12:41 PM

By Megan Anderle

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A pit bull saved a woman's life, alerting her of a fire while she was at the other side of the house and unaware of the flames that would soon engulf the house.

On Friday, Jackie Bonasera, of Long Island, N.Y., was drying her hair in an upstairs bathroom of her home when suddenly she heard her pit bull barking.

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Wondering why the dog was frantically barking, she ran downstairs. To her horror, flames were rapidly spreading from the other side of the garage in the back of the house to the front.

She safely escaped the house in time, but her dog was still inside.

"I ran out of the house and my neighbors came running over, and then I thought about the dog – I'm like, 'He saved my life, I have to save his,'" Bonasera recounted to NBC News New York.

Without thinking she could die in the blaze, she impulsively ran back inside for her pet.

"So I just put my robe over my face and I ran back in and I grabbed the dog and then I stood out here and I watched my house burn," she said.

Bonasera said she realizes that she could have been trapped upstairs and easily lost her life that day, had it not been for her protective pet.

More than 70 firefighters reported to the scene to extinguish the blaze, officials said.

Although the cause of the fire has not been determined and the arson squad is investigating, police don't believe it's suspicious, NBC reported.

Bonasera alerted her neighbors immediately of the fire.

“There were flames shooting down the hallway,” said Rhonda Westenberger, a neighbor, who was saved along with her sister. “If Baby hadn’t woken Evelyn up, I don’t think either one of us would have come out of it.”

Alexus Stallworth, Bonasera's daughter, called Cain "the town hero."

"He's a pit bull, too," said Stallworth. "They have such bad reps, but he's such a good boy."

Pit bulls are known for their muscular bodies and large jaws, which is why they are often recruited for dog fighting. They are so widely used in dog fighting arenas that the public has come to associate them with aggression and danger.

But there have been some positive reports about the breed recently. In February, a pit bull in Oklahoma named Baby had a nearly identical rescue. The animal barked to alert its family after an early morning fire spread in the house.

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Related stories:

Breed-Specific Dog Bans Favoring Pit Bulls Could End in Oklahoma

Pit Bull Ban Prompts Ontario Pitcher Mark Buehrle to Leave Family Behind

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