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November 22. 2012 6:19PM

Dog saves lives, but dies in Manchester fire


Mason is shown in this family photo. 

MANCHESTER - Mason, a 9-year-old Italian mastiff, died Thursday after saving the lives of the owners of a Sheffield Road home that caught fire early Thursday, District Fire Chief Michael Gamache said.

"We're all pretty heartbroken," said Brooke Boudakian, whose father, Charles, owns the 475 Sheffield Road home that was destroyed Thanksgiving morning. "She was very loved. It was a pretty heroic thing that she did."

A cat also died in the blaze, which destroyed a garage before spreading to the home about 4 a.m. Thursday, Gamache said.

Gamache said the Fire Department has special breathing masks for animals that were donated by the company O2 Fur Life. The animals were found lying next to each other, he said.

"The animals were given oxygen and first aid on the front lawn, unfortunately both animals did not survive," Gamache said. "The pet dog who perished was credited with awakening the occupants of the home, in essence saving their lives."

Brooke Boudakian said she was 11 years old when her family brought Mason, who was one of 13 puppies in her litter, home in 2003.

"She loved playing outside with her toys. She also loved sleeping and loved going for rides," she said.

"She was an awesome dog. She was very protective, and she saved my dad's life," she said.

Gamache said Charles Boudakian and Rhonda LaFleur, the home's other occupant, tried to extinguish the blaze and called 911. They were not injured in the fire, he said.

The fire, which went undetected until Mason woke the occupants, "made significant headway into the home before enough resources arrived to stop the fire's forward progress into the home," Gamache said.

He said the fire is not considered suspicious and that fire officials are "looking at a wood stove" as a possible cause, though no cause for the fire has yet been determined.

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Tim Buckland may be reached at tbuckland@unionleader.com.


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