I TEAM: Caught on camera – dog rescued from home heating system

CLEVELAND - The FOX 8 I TEAM has obtained exclusive video showing how Cleveland Police officers and firefighters became heroes without dodging bullets or flames. Police body camera video shows how they saved a 4-pound Chihuahua after an accident inside a home.

Liz Toth called for help after her precious dog, Dexter, fell into the duct work of a home heating system.

Toth said, “Panic. Sheer panic. You have no idea. Of course, my little dog is like my child.”

Video shows the emergency crews quickly went to work in the basement opening some of the duct work. One firefighter can be heard asking, “Where’d he get in at?” Someone else answers, “Upstairs. Fell through.”

Toth said painters had been working in the home, and they left a vent uncovered. She added, “Dexie” fell in. “And then all of a sudden, I hear the pitter patter of his little feet. I was like, if we have to wreck the whole basement, it’s gonna look like World War 5. I don’t care.”

The video shows a firefighter spotted the dog but couldn’t reach him. Toth can then be seen moving into the picture, calling the dog, trying to coax him out.

After agonizing minutes ticked by, finally, the dog scrambled out of the duct work and into the arms of a very relieved pet owner. Toth said, “…he’s so tiny. How could he get in such trouble?”

It's not uncommon for Cleveland firefighters to get calls for pet emergencies. Those calls are handled on a case-by-case basis. Whether or not they rush to pet rescue can depend, in part, on what else is happening, and on the risk of that call to firefighters.

Dexter came out a little dirty, but he didn’t get hurt. He now sits getting pampered in the home thanks to some of Cleveland’s finest.

Liz Toth has a message for the safety forces. She said, "I'm just very, very grateful. You guys don't get enough ‘thank you’s’."

Meantime, firefighters want to remind everyone to remember their pets when thinking about emergency escape plans at home. And firefighters say, don’t ever run back into a burning building after a pet.