Dog saves owner from burning house

Kenny Tucker with his dog, Buddy, are shown in front of his house a day after a fire destroyed it. Buddy alerted Tucker to the fire which allowed him to escape the flames. Tucker received the border collie about three years ago from his son. The dog was only 8 or 9 months old when he received him as a gift. Crystal Reed photo

EFFINGHAM — An Effingham man has something to be thankful for despite a fire that destroyed his home earlier this week — his dog, Buddy.

Kenny Tucker was awakened by Buddy barking early Tuesday morning, which alerted him to the electric blanket on his bed being on fire.

"The whole end of the bed was burning," he said.

Tucker ran to the kitchen for a glass of water to try and douse the fire but it rapidly developed and engulfed the bed, bedding and everything around it. At some point, the blanket wrapped around Tucker's leg and burned it.

Tucker escaped from the house and called 911.

When the firefighters from nearby Station 3 responded to the Shadyside Drive home, they found fire blowing out of two bedroom windows located at the front and side of the home. The fire was under control in 15 minutes of arrival.

Fire Chief Bob Tutko said the home had working smoke detectors but the real hero in this case was Buddy.

Throughout the entire incident Tuesday, Tucker said the loyal border collie was beside him.

"Without that dog, I would have been burnt up as well," said Tucker, who was hospitalized for the burns on his leg.

Damage to the home was estimated at $100,000.

Crystal Reed can be reached at crystal.reed@effinghamdailynews.com or by phone at 217-347-7151 ext. 131.