Dog's barks save woman in Cedar house fire; crews revive cat

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Posted: 5:18 PM- CEDAR CITY - Sally Reilly can thank her dog for helping her escape her burning home and firefighters for saving her smoke-choked cat.

The Cedar City woman was in the basement of her house at 345 S. Casa Loma St. on Monday morning when her Shih Tzu, Bandit, started barking.

"I went upstairs and saw the porch on fire," Reilly said. "I opened the door [to the wooden deck] but closed it and ran outside and called 911. . . . Windows were exploding, and I was worried about a gas fireplace exploding."

Fire Chief Paul Irons said a preliminary investigation showed the blaze appears to have started on the deck of the three-story house and quickly spread to the main structure.

"It seems they [the family members] had a barbecue on the deck [Sunday]," Irons said, "and the wind today may have started it."

Irons estimated the damage at more than $200,000.

While crews were fighting the flames, some ceiling dry wall fell on a firefighter, who was treated at the scene.

"Heıs too bullheaded to stay down," said Irons of the unidentified firefighter.

Firefighter Greg Coulter said crews also found Reillyıs cat, P.T. (short for Puddy Tat), in a bathroom shower unconscious from smoke inhalation.

Coulter and emergency medical technicians worked on the 14-year-old cat in the driveway and revived the feline.

"They gave her oxygen and water and brought her out of it," Reilly said. "I couldnıt believe they found her."

Her husband, Mike Reilly, and their 12-year-old son, Lucas, were working in nearby Paragonah when they heard about the fire. They rushed to the scene to embrace Sally.

By Monday afternoon, the Reillys were reunited in their garage with their 14-year-old cat snoozing under a towel and their dog sleeping on the cool concrete floor.

"All we lost were just things," Mike Reilly said. "Whatıs important is two beautiful people and our dog and cat are OK."

The Reillys have endured a rough stretch lately. Their other dog, Sparky, a 3-year-old border collie, was hit and killed by a car Friday.