Postal worker hailed a hero for helping save dogs from fire in Kensington

The owners of two dogs that nearly died in a house fire Tuesday got to thank the postal worker who first spotted the smoke at their home. 

Laura and DeWayne Nichols said both of their dogs are doing well after surviving the fire at their home on Dewey Road in Kensington.

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue said the dogs were unconscious when they were found, but crews intubated them and were able to get them both breathing. 

Postal worker Vincent Ross saw smoke coming from the house Tuesday and called 911. 

Vincent Ross

"People walking by said they know these people have pets," Ross said. 

Ross, who’s been a postal worker going on 25 years, says before he was even off the phone with the 911 dispatcher, he heard sirens headed his way — as well as one of the dogs inside the house. 

"As I was talking to her, I could hear one of the dogs in there barking and howling," he said. 

Montgomery County Fire and EMS shared video of firefighters rescuing Grohl, a 1-year-old German Shepard. Firefighters say the dog was intubated, given oxygen the same way first responders would revive a person. Same for 11-year-old Penelope, a Lab mix. But she was in worse shape. 

2 dogs resuscitated after house fire in Montgomery County; 3 cats dead

On Thursday, Grohl was back with the Nichols, but Penelope was still in intensive care at the vet. 

"She’s still on oxygen therapy, but they’re expecting her to make a full recovery," Mrs. Nichols said. 

The couple is displaced from their home and says they’re devastated about losing their three cats that didn’t survive the fire.                                                                               

"It’s been hard because we don’t have kids, and we don’t have family here, so they really are what we came home to," Mrs. Nichols added. 

The Nichols say they’re so thankful their dogs are okay.

"I think the dogs would’ve died for sure if the mailman hadn’t been there," she said. 

Laura and DeWayne said they had been hoping to talk to Ross, so they could thank him personally. 

FOX 5 surprised the couple by bringing Ross into the Zoom call, so they could meet for the first time. 

"You saved our dogs," DeWayne said.

"You definitely saved the dogs, they’d be dead without you," Laura interjected. "I just can’t thank you enough for everything. Some people would’ve just walked by and not said anything. You saved them for sure." 

"I‘m just glad that I could help, you know, that’s all. That’s awesome that they wanted to see me and tell me 'thank you," Ross said. 

The postman said he wasn’t looking for a thank you or accolades and was just glad to hear first hand the dogs made it out. 

"Heroes do small acts that change people’s lives," DeWayne said. "You are the hero to our two dogs." 

"And to us," Laura added. 

Montgomery Co. Fire said they believe the fire was started by combustibles on a refrigerator near a stovetop. The damage was estimated at $75,000.