Dog saves Plainfield family from house fire
By Brian Stanley firstname.lastname@example.org May 25, 2012 10:28AM
Sharon Berger (left) pets her 2-year-old yellow lab Peyton following an overnight fire at her residence in the 16000 block of S. River Rd. Friday, May 25, 2012, in Plainfield. Peyton was being credited with alerting her son to the fire. | Matthew Grotto~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 3, 2012 10:16AM
PLAINFIELD — On Wednesday, Sharon Berger took her family dog to the vet for shots.
“Peyton is a 2-year-old golden Lab. She said he’s still young but he’s going to take care of you for a long time,” Berger said.
Peyton’s chance to do so came sooner than anyone expected. Early Friday, the dog’s barking alerted Berger’s son that the house was on fire and the family was able to escape safely.
The blaze was reported at 12:43 a.m. in the 16000 block of South River Road.
Berger suspects the fire started after her sons, Alex, 13, and Matthew, 9, used the backyard fire pit Wednesday night after Sharon and Peyton came back from the vet.
“My older son was trying to help me out and cleaned out the ashes when he got home from school Thursday. I think there was an ember smoldering because the can caught fire,” she said.
Peyton, who is named after Alex’s favorite football player, Peyton Manning, was sleeping upstairs in Alex’s room and barked enough to wake up the boy.
He saw the flames and went downstairs to alert his mom and younger brother.
“We got out just in time because an aerosol can in the garbage exploded and the winds spread it to the house,” Berger said.
“That dog saved these people’s lives,” Deputy Fire Chief Jon Stratton said. “The way those winds were gusting at 18 to 25 mph the fire went right through the structure.”
The fire and smoke damaged the attic, roof, first floor and basement and Stratton expects the house will have to be torn down and replaced.
The Bergers were renting the house. The boys expected to attend their final day of school Friday, but their mother said plans changed as they dealt with the impact of the fire.
“And Peyton’s fine, too,” Berger added.
Donations of food, clothing and gift cards for the family can be dropped off at Century 21 Pro Team, 15105 S. James St.