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Dog kennel catches fire, young hero saves puppies

TRAGIC ACCIDENT: An electrical fire ruined this Lumberton kennel last Sunday, killing four dogs and leaving the owners in need of donations. Photo by Stephanie Hodges

TRAGIC ACCIDENT: An electrical fire ruined this Lumberton kennel last Sunday, killing four dogs and leaving the owners in need of donations.
Photo by Stephanie Hodges

A large dog kennel in Lumberton caught on fire Sunday morning, killing four dogs and injuring many more. Although the kennel and everything inside was lost in the fire, many of the dogs were saved thanks to the bravery of 14-year-old Nicholas Tidmore.

“He’s the hero here,” said Philip Norris, owner of the kennel and Tidmore’s uncle, “One minute later and the fire would have killed every dog in there.”

Tidmore was playing with some of the smaller dogs in the backyard when he saw that the large kennel, which housed several dozen dogs, had caught fire. After alerting his aunt and uncle, he ran inside the burning building to try to free the dogs to give them a chance to escape the blaze.

Norris said some of the puppies his nephew rescued were too afraid to move and would have died if Tidmore had not been there to carry them out of the building.

Norris and his wife Bonny Evans also ran into the burning kennel, risking their lives in an attempt to save as many dogs as possible. Norris was burned slightly, while Evans suffered third-degree burns on her hands from touching the hot latches on the cages, and her arm was burned as she was dragging the dogs out of the kennel.

Pearl River County Fire Marshal Albert Lee investigated the fire and classified it as accidental due to an electrical short.

“On Nov. 9, the North Central Volunteer Fire Department responded to a 10:31 a.m. call concerning a large dog kennel fire at 457 Wayne Pardue Road,” said Lee, “Upon their arrival at 10:47 a.m., the kennel was fully engulfed in fire.”

Lee said the fire department completed their call at 11:35 a.m., but the abundance of metal throughout the structure caused the fire to rekindle at 12:11 p.m. Volunteer fire departments from Amackertown and North East responded to the call and extinguished the fire by pulling back the tin and extinguishing the burning wood, Lee said.

Norris said nothing could be saved from the main building and there was no insurance on the kennel. They lost all of their dog and horse food, as well as a number of other supplies including bowls, bedding and medicine.

The family is accepting donations and has started a fundraiser web page that can be found at gofundme.com/h1qwgk. Volunteers and other assistance of any kind are welcome.

Norris is still having trouble breathing from all the smoke inhalation and said the horrible experience still haunts him, but he remains thankful that his nephew was there to be a hero.