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Firefighters rescue 33 dogs found 'gasping for air' in Florida house fire

Although firefighters didn't find single person home, they stumbled onto a rescue unlike any other: 34 dogs choking on thick, black smoke.
/ Source: TODAY

When firefighters in Broward County, Florida arrived late Thursday at a home on fire, they assumed the evening emergency would include pulling trapped residents to safety.

Although they found not a single person home, the firefighters stumbled onto a rescue unlike any other: 34 dogs choking on thick, black smoke.

Dogs rescued
Broward Sheriff's Office Fire Rescue crews rescued dozens of dogs from a house fire Thursday night.Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue

"The dogs weren't responsive," said Lt. Kristen Sargent, one of the first into the home. "They were just laying on the ground, pretty much gasping for air. The smoke was thick, you could barely see anything."

It took the fire department only three minutes to get to the blaze, but more than 90 minutes to find all the victims.

Dogs rescued
Rescue crews arrived and found a total of 31 dogs, many in critical condition and unresponsive.Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue

While one of the dogs passed away, 33 escaped the fire alive.

At the VCA Hollywood Animal Hospital in Hollywood, Florida, eight dogs are still in intensive care.

Dr. Katherine Cappe, holding a trembling dog they nicknamed "Andy," said: "He has damage in the lungs. Some soot that's probably down there. The first 48 hours is always a critical time for a dog that's been exposed to smoke."

Dogs rescued
The Florida Cocker Spaniel Rescue has started a fundraising page to help with expenses to care for the dogs.Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue

As she and a technician petted "Andy," their hands turned dark from the soot still staining his body.

Four dogs remain in oxygen tents.

If you're interested in donating or adopting the dogs, you can check out Florida Cocker Spaniel Rescue, donate to the rescue group's crowdfunding page, or write:

Florida Cocker Spaniel Rescue 23154 Saint George Place Land O Lakes, FL 34639