Observant neighbor spots house fire, rescues family and six dogs

RICHFIELD -- A fire broke out at a home in Richfield late Tuesday night, April 24th, and it was spotted by a man out walking his dog. That man alerted the family, helped them get out of the home safely, and helped them rescue their six dogs from the home.

Carrie Tibbs is thankful that she, her two little boys and six family dogs survived Tuesday night's fire.

Video taken from a Village of Richfield firefighter's helmet camera shows the extent of the flames and smoke. Five departments were called in to battle the flames.

"The occupants (of the home) were fast asleep and the husband was out working. It could have been a bad event if this kept going," one fire official said.

Tibbs, her boys and her dogs survived the fire thanks to an observant neighbor, Keith Leifer, who was out for a walk with his dog Kelby just before midnight Tuesday when he spotted trouble in the form of flames coming from the garage.

Leifer said he pounded on the front door of the Tibbs' home until they woke up, and then made multiple trips into the home - ultimately saving nine lives.

In the process, Leifer's dog, Kelby went into the home's basement, suffering smoke inhalation. The springer spaniel was treated in the intensive care unit. "She's been sick. She's been throwing up and having a really hard time breathing. Hopefully she'll pull through," Leifer said.

Tibbs said she is extremely concerned about Kelby, but feels lucky Leifer was in the right place at the right time Tuesday night. "(Leifer was) an angel that came down the road last night to save our lives! In the heat of the moment, I said 'where did you come from?' He said 'oh, I live seven miles away.' Later on I said to him, 'you don't live seven miles away. You came from heaven!'" Tibbs said.

The Tibbs' house is a total loss after the fire, and neighbors have already offered to help out, along with members of the Richfield Volunteer Fire Department.