APOLLO (KDKA) — A passerby who spotted smoke and flames pouring from a home in Apollo, Armstrong County, rushed into that burning home to rescue 10 pets that were trapped inside.
A woman and two children had already escaped when 53-year-old Len Swatchick ran across a field to help. The Verona construction firm owner was doing work in the area when the fire started on McKinstry Hill Road.
He didn’t realize until later that his cell phone, which was in his pocket, was in recording mode during the daring rescues.
“I found something in the yard. I covered up the windowsill. Five or six dogs came out at that point. There were still four dogs in there,” he told KDKA’s Kym Gable. “The house was really burning. It was really hot. I was getting really hot. There were two dogs left and we didn’t have much time to get them out.”
Swatchick later revealed that he was a volunteer firefighter 25 years ago. He believes his experience helped him act quickly and efficiently. But he also says his actions on this day came from the heart.
“I feel sorry for the family, I do. But hopefully having their 10 dogs is something. I just felt like I was placed over there to help them out. It’s pretty weird, but it seems to happen to me. At the right place at the right time I guess, like a guardian angel,” Swatchick said.
Swatchick says the pets were shaken, but they didn’t seem to be hurt.