When a restaurant fire spread through a New Haven, Connecticut commercial property, it took a number of apartments with it, and residents of the building assumed all had been lost in the blaze.

Normally, they would be right. But this weekend, firemen and cleanup crews said they were stunned when, after extinguishing the blaze and commencing demolition work the following day, they watched a pit bull rise from the ashes.

“All of a sudden a big pit bull sat up in the middle of the debris,” said Kevin Plummer, United Cleaning and Restoration. “We grabbed him by the collar and brought him down to the ground. He didn’t bark. He didn’t growl. He’s a good dog.”

The dog, ‘Spooky’, had managed to find his way into a closet. When it collapsed on him, it protected him from the intense heat of the flames that surrounded him. Spooky was brought across the street to a local vet for treatment and is recovering well.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that Spooky’s owner, Mike, lost three cats in the fire. And he was in a car accident on Friday. While his apartment was burning on Saturday, Mike was recovering in the hospital: his condition is currently listed as serious.

Because he has suffered so much loss, Mike’s neighborhood is rallying around him, collecting funds to pay for vet bills while he heals. “He is a really good guy,” said friend Lisa Siedlarz. “He served our country. He has lived here a really long time and to have this happen it is a series of tragic events.”

When he comes home, Mike’s neighbors will help him pick up the pieces and start over:  they say they want to do what they can to make the transition easier, and they can’t believe his misfortune.

The workers who found Spooky also feel for his owner, but say it’s a miracle that the dog will be waiting to greet him when he returns.

“Everything else you can replace, but an animal is like a child,” said Plummer.

Donations for Mike are being accepted by the SoHu Neighborhood Association’s website.

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