A family's 4-year-old dog is being hailed a hero after it stayed behind in a burning house and alerted first responders to the location where a man had collapsed inside the home.
Bambi, a Labrador mix, was with her three owners inside a home that caught fire last Tuesday morning in Chicago’s Portage Park neighborhood.
Fire officials said the fire started around 1:45 a.m. in a two-story home in the 5100 block of West Grace Street.
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Bambi was let out of the home by her owner, Sara Domaradzki, who left the apartment. But when Domaradzki came back down, she had no idea that Bambi stayed behind to stay by her father's bedside.
Domaradzki's mother couldn't wake up her father in time.
One of the upstairs renters called Bambi's name from the front door of the home and could hear her crying, but she wouldn't come outside, Domaradzki said.
"My dad's retired so Bambi spends most of her time with my dad," she said. "She probably knew she couldn't leave him in there."
Domaradzki's father was eventually rescued by firefighters and was taken to Community First Medical Center in critical condition.
Bambi, who remained by the bed until the man was taken out of the home, was also hospitalized for smoke inhalation. She was oxygen dependent for several days but was recently discharged.
Domaradzki said Bambi was home for one day, but had to return to the hospital after she started having a seizure.
Domaradzki said her family lost almost everything in the fire, but that's the least of her worries.
"The fact that we are without the two most important people in our lives is really hard," she said, referring to her father and dog, both still in the hospital. "It’s emotionally devastating for sure."
A GoFundMe account was created to help raise money for Bambi's vet bills, which the family says will be even more with the latest hospitalization.
As of Monday, the fund has raised more than $3,000 with a goal of $5,000.
"I’m overwhelmed with all the support," Domaradzki said. "I really didn’t think everyone would come through for us like they did."