IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Hero pit bull runs into burning house to save child

The family is giving Blue the dog extra belly rubs, but they're worried because they're facing homelessness now.
Dog saves baby
Blue, who is a pit bull mix, alerted first responders to his 14-month-old sister, Shantel Davis. Sarahbeth Maney / Detroit Free Press via Zuma Press
/ Source: TODAY

A pit bull mix named Blue is being hailed as a hero after he ran into a burning house to save a toddler from a fire in Detroit, Michigan.

Last month, Janet Kelly and her fiancé, DaQuan Davis, were shopping for groceries when they received a frantic phone call. It was Davis’s brother Demetrius, who was watching their children Isabella, 4, and Shantel, 14 months.

“He was like, ’The house is on fire, you need to get home,’” Kelly, 40, tells “My heart just dropped.”

Their rental home was engulfed in flames when Kelly and Davis got there. Kelly says the fire started in the tenant's apartment below them.

Kelly’s daughters Zoey, 9, and Chloe, 7, who were in the backseat of the car, began to cry, thinking their little sisters didn't make it out of the house.  

“They thought that Isabella and Shantel were no longer with us,” Kelly says.

Janet Kelly , a mother of four, and her  fiancé, DaQuan Davis, lost all their belongings in a house fire on Feb. 21.
Janet Kelly , a mother of four, and her fiancé, DaQuan Davis, lost all their belongings in a house fire on Feb. 21.Sarahbeth Maney / Detroit Free Press via Zuma Press

After a terrifying 22 minutes, Kelly and Davis, 27, found that Isabella and Shantel had escaped safely. Kelly broke down in tears.

“I’ve never been so relieved,” she says. “My babies were OK.”

And Kelly has Blue to thank, in part.

“Demetrius was able to get Isabella out, but Shantel was pinned in her playpen. Things were falling,” Kelly says. “Blue followed Demetrius outside, then he ran back into the house for Shantel. He was protecting her no matter what."

Kelly says that Blue alerted firefighters to Shantel’s location. 

“He was circling around her and barking,” she says. “And he wouldn't leave until she was out."

Chloe Kelly, 7, left, Shantel Kelly, 1, mother Janet Kelly, 40, and Zoey Kelly, 9, play with their family dog named Blue
Janet Kelly and her daughters are living in an Airbnb free of charge for the month of March, but they have nowhere to go starting April 1. Sarahbeth Maney / Detroit Free Press via Zuma Press

Blue is being treated to extra belly rubs at the Airbnb that was offered to the family free of charge for the month of March. But Kelly says they have nowhere to go after April 1. She and Davis own a lawn service company, and all of their equipment was destroyed in the blaze. The couple did not have renters insurance.

“I was a single mom when we moved into the house, and I could barely make ends meet,” Kelly says. “But it was irresponsible of me. I just never thought something like this could happen.”

After the fire, Kelly, Davis, the four children and Blue spent six nights sleeping in their van. Kelly says she’s petrified of ending up there again, which is why she set up a GoFundMe.

“We still have to find housing and buy clothing. We lost absolutely everything,” she says. “I worked so hard to have my own company, and now I’m looking at fast food jobs.”

Zoey, the oldest daughter, is taking it the hardest.

“DaQuan gave her a dollar and then she came to me and said, ‘I want you to have this. I know we don’t have any money,” Kelly recalls. “It broke my heart. She’s a 9-year-old child.”

As for Blue, he now growls when sees a candle or someone lighting a cigarette.

"He's the sweetest dog," Kelly tells "Pit bulls have a reputation for being aggressive. But I think it comes down to the way they were raised. Dogs are not born wanting to bite people. Blue will bark at strangers, but once he knows you're OK, he'll drop onto his back for belly rubs."Related video: