Darren Doyle, story and photos:
An Edmonson County man barely escaped from a house fire this afternoon trying to save his dog from the burning building.
L.D. LaMastus, (72), of 1728 Shadyland Church Road said he heard a "pop" in the back room of his home today and as he went to check it out, smoke began filling the area.
Mr. LaMastus said he began looking inside for his dog, Judy, but couldn't find her. He said he went outside to search for her but didn't see her there, either. Frantic, he went back inside to make sure he hadn't overlooked her in the house and that's when smoke took over the entire building.
He said he ran back out and flagged down a passerby, which was John Denton, (31), of Bowling Green. Denton said he was visiting a friend at a nearby birthday party when he saw Mr. LaMastus' home engulfed in smoke.
"He said he couldn't find his dog and he ran back inside," said Denton. "We started calling for the dog and couldn't find her. We were on the front porch and I told the man we had to get out of there, smoke was everywhere. About that time, the whole place went up in flames."
LaMastus thought that the dog didn't make it out alive but then saw something in a nearby field.
"Just when I thought it was all over, here she come through that field," he said. "Turns out, she's smarter than me. I've lost everything here today, but I got Judy. She's all I need."
The home of Ben Meredith, a next door neighbor, suffered minor damage as the vinyl siding was melted off one side of his home. Mr. Meredith said that LaMastus had rushed next door and asked him to call 911.
Mr. LaMastus also lost a Dodge pickup in the fire. A car belonging to LaMastus was saved thanks to Mr. Denton's quick action by putting the car in neutral and pushing it away from the house before the flames overtook the entire property. LaMastus was grateful to Denton for his help. Everything else was lost in the fire.
"We did all we could do," said Denton.
Mr. LaMastus appeared to have suffered from smoke inhalation and a few first degree burns. His face and hands were completely blackened with soot. He was taken to the hospital via Edmonson EMS. A neighbor offered to take care of Judy until Mr. LaMastus was again able to do so.
Responding to the scene were the Chalybeate, Rocky Hill, Wingfield, and Brownsville Fire Departments, in addition to local EMS and WRECC. This was the third call for a fire in a 24hr period on Edmonson County's south side.