Dog dies in fire after alerting family to danger

Leroy Butler woke up around 2 a.m. to the sound of the fire alarm in his hallway. That alarm did its job as the fire spread through Butler's home, but only for a short time.

"It only lasted a short 'beep beep' and then it was already on fire. It was gone," said Butler. 

That's when the family dog, Zippy, sounded his own alarm.


"He was back and forth. He was from bed to bed, back and forth," Butler recalled.

The furniture was on fire and the ceiling was engulfed, but the Jack Russell Terrier kept running back and forth to Butler's children and father, barking as loudly as possible.

The Bradenton Fire Department said the fire spread from the attic space near the air conditioning unit. It's unknown how it started, but the important thing for now is that everyone got out.

"They wouldn't move. All they could do was scream and holler, 'No! No! No!'" he said.

Butler tried going back in for Zippy, but the fire had grown too large, too fast.

"The floor in the living room was all on fire so there was nowhere for him to run out. Even if the smoke was this high. He was a short little dog. There was nowhere for him to go," said Butler. 

All Butler could do was wait for the flames to be extinguished. By the time firefighters found Zippy, it was too late. The smoke had gotten to him.

"We adopted him as a pet, so we can only, I can only say he was a good dog. He only did what he could," said Butler. 

They're now without their home, their dog, or even any photos to remember the good times they shared. 

"He would let me know if someone was outside. With the smoke, he still did his job. That’s just one thing and one person that I couldn’t save and one person I couldn’t get to," said Butler.