By: Captain II Randal Bittinger
Fire Station 39, North Point, B-Shift
On June 1st, a resident in the Great Falls area of the county called Fire Station 39, North Point, seeking assistance. They reported that their dog, a pointer weighing at least 60 pounds, was trapped under their deck.
Firefighters from Station 39, B-Shift, reported to the location and started their investigation. The home owner thought they heard their dog under their deck. The deck was less than 3 inches off the ground with gravel placed to the base of the deck. Crews conducted a thorough search for the dog but there was no evidence of the dog or of any gravel being disturbed under the deck.
Crews then began to investigate the rest of the home to see if the dog could possibly have hid somewhere else. Nothing found. The owner was informed that firefighters could see no evidence of the dog and any further investigation would require the removal of some decking. With the home owner’s permission, the crews did an excellent job of carefully removing the boards and searching under the deck. Again, nothing found.
After some additional time passed searching the area, the home owner and one of the firefighters heard a small whine from under the house. Crews immediately went to work removing additional deck boards to gain access to the foundation. This portion of the home that the deck was against was a slab foundation. Once the decking was removed there was again no evidence of any gravel being disturbed and a solid concrete foundation over a gravel base was all that was evident.
Firefighters began to remove some of the gravel under the slab of the home to see if there was a pocket that the dog may have crawled into. After several buckets of gravel were removed the dog’s tail and then foot could be felt. They eventually were able to remove enough gravel to get food and water to the dog while continuing to clear more gravel and dirt.
After a well-coordinated movement of material, firefighters were able to finally free the dog from under the home. The dog had been trapped under the home for two days. He emerged dehydrated and a little bruised but in good shape despite the lengthy entrapment.
Fairfax Loudoun County Animal control evaluated the dog’s health and turned him over to a very happy family.
Firefighters could only surmise that the dog went after a small animal that hid under the deck. The dog was then wedged and continued to push and dig trying to get free. In doing so he only went further under the home and the gravel he was moving was pushed behind him thus blocking any evidence of his location and his only means of escape.
A very happy ending for the family, firefighters and “Banx” the dog!