Brookfield fire: Dog saves owners, students' donation helps save dog

A dog saved its owners from a burning Brookfield home, and then firefighters saved the dog after it got trapped inside – but the daring rescue may not have been possible without the help of high school students.

Everyone involved in the heroics reunited at the Brookfield Fire Department on Tuesday, Feb. 14 to check in on the very special dog, Koda.

"He loves to run," said Steve Mehnert. "He does the classic lab/retriever – chase ducks and pheasants and all that."

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Koda proved to be more than just man's best friend earlier this month when his owner's home went up in flames. The dog woke up Mehnert and Jen Vaughn in the middle of the night.

"We would have died," Vaughn said. "We were told we would have been goners in 15 minutes from carbon monoxide."

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Brookfield house fire; Koda the dog saved owners (Courtesy: Brookfield Fire Department)

Koda is a rescue dog, adopted from a local shelter last year. 

"We had a fire one year from the date of us rescuing Koda. On that one-year anniversary, Koda saved our lives," said Mehnert.

While the family for out safe, Koda suffered smoke inhalation. Brookfield firefighters used an oxygen mask to keep him alive.

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"He was in pretty poor condition, barely breathing," said Firefighter Brandon Rachwal.

The Brookfield Fire Department now has three sets of pet oxygen masks on every ambulance. In 2018, a Brookfield Central High School student group – known as "PAWS" – raised $200 to buy the first.

"These good things that they do really make a difference, right?" said teacher and PAWS advisor Jamie Silver.

Oxygen masks for pets at Brookfield Fire Department

Silver said she took her current students to see how their hard work saved a life. Everyone did their own part to be a hero.

"What they did – they might not realize it now, but they’ll realize it someday," Mehnert said.

Investigators said the fire started because of some hot ashes left in a grill outside. Koda's owners hope their tragedy means other fire stations in the area will get masks for pets. PAWS said they are already on it and will help raise money to get another department a set of masks if needed.