'Hero' dog saves owner but perishes in Layton blaze

Feb 28 2013 - 5:54am

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Ron Barningham (right) comforts his wife outside their burning home in Layton on Wednesday. Warned by their dog Jake, his wife was able to escape the fire, but the dog did not make it out. (REYNALDO LEAL/Standard-Examiner)
Layton firefighters stand outside a burning home in Layton on Wednesday. (REYNALDO LEAL/Standard-Examiner)
A Layton firefighter sprays water on the roof of a burning home in Layton on Wednesday.  (REYNALDO LEAL/Standard-Examiner)
Captains of the Layton Fire Department talk outside a burning home in Layton on Wednesday.  (REYNALDO LEAL/Standard-Examiner)
Ron Barningham (right) comforts his wife outside their burning home in Layton on Wednesday. Warned by their dog Jake, his wife was able to escape the fire, but the dog did not make it out. (REYNALDO LEAL/Standard-Examiner)
Layton firefighters stand outside a burning home in Layton on Wednesday. (REYNALDO LEAL/Standard-Examiner)
A Layton firefighter sprays water on the roof of a burning home in Layton on Wednesday.  (REYNALDO LEAL/Standard-Examiner)
Captains of the Layton Fire Department talk outside a burning home in Layton on Wednesday.  (REYNALDO LEAL/Standard-Examiner)

LAYTON -- Jake, a 13-year-old golden retriever/Lab mix, is a hero, said Layton Fire Chief Kevin Ward.

"He saved the woman's life," Ward said about the dog who did not make it out of a burning house Wednesday afternoon.

"I just can't believe he did it," said Ron Barningham, his eyes red from crying and his cheek wet with tears as he talked about the sacrifice the dog made to save his wife.

The contents of the home were a total loss, but those can be replaced. The 120-pound faithful companion cannot, he said.

Barningham said his wife was taking a nap when Jake came into the room and whined until she woke up.

"The room was so full of smoke, she couldn't get out, so she had to go out the window," Barningham said. "And she couldn't lift or carry Jake, so he died."

Barningham said his wife had to climb out of the window from the second level of the home. She called for Jake to jump out, but he never did.

Jake had been a part of the family since he was a puppy. Barningham said his wife was very distraught over Jake's death and did not want her name released.

"Jake's a hero," Ward said.

Ward said 911 received many calls at 3:38 p.m. about the fire that occurred at the corner of 850 E. Wasatch Blvd.

One of those who called was Sean Dandoy, who lives in an apartment complex in back of the Barningham's home.

"I came outside and saw the smoke just coming out of the back of the house, so I called 911 and told them to get the fire department over here," Dandoy said.

Dandoy said he went to the front of the house and saw a woman trying desperately to get her dog to come out.

"He didn't make it," Dandoy said. "That's so sad."

Ward said the house, especially the basement, received substantial damage. The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.

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