By Dave Crawley

TARENTUM (KDKA) — Life or death can be one fire call away for Eureka Fire Rescue of Tarentum. For eleven years, they were joined on the job by a loyal Dalmation named Ember.

In December, the fire dog took her final ride.

“This is an urn that was donated to us for her ashes,” Deputy Fire Chief Brad James says. He says Ember was part of the fire fighting family.

But now there’s a new kid in town. A 12-week-old Dalmatian pup named Ashes will now make the firehouse her home.

“Our folks deal with a wide range of emotions on any given day,” the deputy chief adds. “So to kind of have that camaraderie, to have that theme to come back to at the fire station, is really remarkable.”

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Ashes is continuing a tradition that began more than a century ago, when Dalmatians ran alongside the fire horses that pulled the pumper. The dogs would protect the horses, and when they got to the scene of the fire, they protected the firefighters’ equipment as well.

The newcomer’s friends in blue are confident she’ll follow Ember’s paw prints. On her first day on the job, Ashes bonded with Rescue Captain Susan Clark.

“We start to look at things negatively, and when we come back and see a puppy, we’re all better!” she said.

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