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Dog hailed a hero after waking up owner during RV fire

Hero dog
Posted at 9:55 PM, May 03, 2023

CLOVIS, California (KFSN) — A dog is being celebrated as a hero for waking up his owner as an RV fire spread to nearby homes in Clovis.

The fire broke out around 3 am on April 28 in a neighborhood near Everglade and Sylmar.

Firefighters say the fire started in an RV but quickly spread to the outside of two nearby homes.

As the fire was burning, a 2-year-old Labradoodle named Charlie woke up his owner, Chad McCollum, by whining to go outside.

In the backyard, Charlie kept barking until McCollum came outside and saw the smoke and flames.

"I walk over to the corner of the yard where he's barking and I see the plume of smoke up in the sky and kind of an orange glow," recalled McCollum.

After calling 911, McCollum woke up the neighbors of the impacted homes and made sure they got to safety.

Donald Tharpe lives in one of the houses that Charlie helped save.

"That saved a lot of us. The dog, if he wouldn't have barked, both houses would have been torched," said Tharpe.

The fire forced the family in the other house out because of heavy smoke and water damage.

The Clovis Fire Department honored Charlie for his heroic deed with his very own medal and a firefighter helmet.

"It's pretty amazing that just one act by an animal, that we love, certainly turned into something that hopefully helped out a couple other people in the neighborhood," McCollum explained.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.