NORTH SIDE (KDKA) – Two residents in a North Side apartment building can give thanks to an alert dog for potentially saving their lives.

A fire broke out in the 1200-block of Sherman Avenue around 6 a.m. and quickly escalated to three-alarms.

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There are no reported injuries thanks, in part, to a priceless pit bull with a precious name who sensed danger.

“The dog was barking as I was sleeping. I kept telling her be quite, to shut up. She would not. She was barking, jumping up and down on the couch, on top of me,” Gary Terrell said.

Terrell didn’t know it, but his six-month-old puppy named Diamond was about to save his life, as well as others.

“It was like the sun was in my home. I was overwhelmed with smoke and heat,” Terrell said.

Terrell’s apartment building was on fire. He got out and because Diamond warned him, Terrell warned his neighbor upstairs.

“It was just all smoke in the hallway. I couldn’t see, I couldn’t breathe. I just had to get out. I felt myself about to pass out, but I kept running,” Randolyn McKinstry said. “I’m alive and that’s the best part about it, the best part about it. I’m here and I have wonderful family and friends, but it’s still a hard pill to swallow.”

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However, there were questions about a potential lack of smoke alarms in the building.

“The age of the building and the construction style of the building, the fire was able to find its way into some vertical spaces,” Dep. Chief Frank Large said. “There were no reports by anyone of working smoke detectors in the building.”

But, there was Diamond.

She was the runt of this litter, but proved to be top dog today.

“I lost everything, but I have my life and I have my dog. God will make a way for us. I’m living testimony that a dog is man’s best friend and that is the truth,” Terrell said.

The cost of the blaze is estimated to be about $80,000 and the cause of the fire remains under investigation.


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