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Teen risks her life to save pet dog from burning Chesterfield apartment

Posted at 10:31 AM, Nov 23, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-24 07:35:20-05

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Three people are without a home and a teen hospitalized after their Chesterfield apartment was destroyed by a fire.

"You couldn't see anything, there was black smoke everywhere," said Jessica Sutton, the fire victim's neighbor.

The black smoke was coming from Sutton's neighbor's Bellwood Maisonettes' apartment Monday morning.

Investigators say it started in a bedroom.

"When they arrived on scene they had heavy fire coming from the front door and one of the side windows," said, Lt. Jason Elmore, Chesterfield Fire Department spokesperson.

Inside was a 16-year-old girl who escaped, but then went back into her burning Chesterfield apartment, located along 6700 Jefferson Davis Highway, to save her dog "Rat Rat" who wasn't breathing.

"By the time she was coming back out she was tossing the dog at me and she was running out and we grabbed the dog and I didn't think he was going to make it," said Sutton.  "I just knew that he needed air, so his owner started blowing into his mouth and I was pushing on his ribcage and he finally started breathing and started rolling around," added Sutton.

"Rat Rat" is back on all fours, but his 16-year-old owner that saved his life was transported to the hospital for smoke inhalation.

Two cats died in the apartment where three people have been displaced.

"We still do encourage however, fire and EMS, if you do get out try not to go back inside because even though she received minor smoke inhalation it could have been a whole lot worse for her as well," said Elmore.

Back in February, 22 people were displaced when 14 units burned in the same complex.  The cause was ruled undetermined, but investigators will be taking another look after Monday's fire.

"They normally look back at other incidents that occur in a locality to determine if there is any kind of correlation if there is something electrical so that will all be part of the process in the investigation," said Elmore.

Two children and their grandmother are displaced and are being assisted by the Red Cross. Three other units had smoke damage.

Fire Marshals have not determined an exact cause but say it appears accidental. The fire is still under investigation.