Family’s pet terrier ‘Ginger’ treated for smoke inhalation after rescue by N. Stormont firefighters

North Stormont Township headquarters in Berwick. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

NORTH STORMONT — Regular viewers of CBC may have seen the news story in the last few days about Ginger, a small terrier being treated for smoke inhalation thanks to a hyperbaric chamber at the Alta Vista Animal Hospital, one of very few such devices for animals in Canada.

But there is a North Stormont connection to this story as it was two of the township’s firefighters that pulled Ginger out of the smoke during an Easter Monday home fire along Highway 138 in the Maxville-Warina Road area.

In a strange twist of fate, the Smrczek family happened to be in Ottawa that day as mother Taylor had just given birth to a baby boy, a happy event in itself.

North Stormont Fire Chief Daniel Gauvin explained what was happening to the Smrczek family home on that fateful April 2, 2018: “We were called to the scene sometime around 4 p.m. … there were flames in the garage and the home was engulfed in smoke.”

A son of the family arrived by car and  “told us that there were family pets inside. Two of my firefighters – they want to remain anonymous – went in and came out with Ginger.”

Firefighters later retrieved another dog, unharmed — it had hidden somewhere — but a cat and a bird were lost.

Paramedics also arrived on scene, and Chief Gauvin spoke with them about helping Ginger breathe clean oxygen, but neither the paramedics nor the North Stormont Fire Department had a specialized kit for family pets. The paramedics did, however, check the animal’s heart and other vital functions.

The Smrczek son took Ginger to the Alta Vista Animal Hospital.

“I would say that our (15 or so) firefighters spent three hours on the scene. I stayed longer and investigator Nancy-Ann Gauthier arrived later. I am very proud of my firefighters for pulling Ginger and the other dog out of there,”
added Gauvin, also expressing thanks to the paramedics for treating Ginger as well as the Ontario Provincial Police who directed traffic throughout the incident.

See the CBC report on Ginger’s treatment below.


North Stormont Fire Chief Dan Gauvin (seen here with daughter Riley, 4, at the township’s community volunteer appreciation barbecue in June 2017) notes that it was his department’s firefighters that recently rescued ‘Ginger’ the terrier dog from a house fire near Maxville. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News


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