BRANDON (FOX 13) - Buddy the dog only has three legs, but this rescue pup is 100-percent hero. On Tuesday he used his only front paw to wake his owner as their condo filled with smoke from a two-alarm fire.
Dominic Baccus says his three-year-old foster-turned forever fur-baby woke him up around two in the morning by pushing his paw into his chest and neck Tuesday. Baccus soon realized why: smoke was rapidly seeping into his apartment. When he opened his back door he discovered his two-story condo buildings was on fire. The units just beneath his were already completely engulfed in flames.
Baccus had to think quickly. He grabbed his phone, wallet and a leash for Buddy, who was visibly frightened by the fire growing just outside their door.
"The flames were starting to engulf my doorway," said Baccus. "My entire house was full of smoke and I saw it was starting to take my entire neighbor's house down. Buddy was scared and was trying to run away back into the house so I knew I needed to get him on his leash."
With flames shooting up through the exterior decking of their escape route, Baccus scooped up Buddy and bolted through the fire. Once both made it to safety Baccus could finally get a good view of the danger they'd managed to escape.
"The fire was above the treetops here," recalled Baccus. "I'm just lucky that he woke me up because I had no idea that it'd been going on."
Hillsborough County firefighters were able to put the fire out in under 30 minutes, but it gutted eight units, including Baccus'. Several families and their furry companions are now without a home.
Buddy, a former stray who had his front right leg amputated after he was hit by a car, knows what it's like to be homeless. But thanks to Baccus, he has a forever friend looking out for him.
"It's nice to know he's got a good home, well at least he did, now we're going to have to find a new one," laughed Baccus. "I'm just glad he was there for me when I needed him."