By Greg Martin
CHARLOTTE HARBOR, Fla. — Charlotte County firefighters who arrived in four firetrucks had little trouble putting out a fire in an apartment at the Charleston Cay complex off Harborview Road Saturday.
However it took three of the firefighters to subdue a tiny Yorkshire terrier as it was being placed into a dog carrier for safe keeping. The dog was one of four temporarily displaced by the fire.
'It bit me six times,' Firefighter EMT Brian Ruggiero told fellow medic Firefighter Mike Brucci.
Some of the dogs were taken from an apartment adjacent to the one that burned because their home had been affected by smoke and water damage and their owners weren't home to secure the animals, firefighters said.
The adjacent apartment was one of several that were swamped with water from the burned apartment's sprinkler system or firefighters' hoses, residents said.
Firefighters were summoned at about 2:30 p.m. to respond to the second-floor apartment in the 900 building of the complex after a neighbor reported seeing smoke, said Charlotte County Fire/EMS Deputy Chief Jason Fair.
Firefighters found a room 'filled with smoke' and 'evidence of fire,' including a scorched area and soot, he said.
The building's sprinkler system had 'held the fire in check' until firefighters could extinguish it, he said.
Fair declined to speculate on the cause of the fire. He said an investigator from the State Fire Marshal's Office had been summoned to investigate. A Charlotte County Sheriff's Office major crimes detective also was summoned.
No one was injured but the apartment's sole resident, a middle-aged woman who was not identified by authorities, was taken to a hospital at her request. She told a paramedic she 'didn't want to get sick.'
'Her apartment caught on fire, the sprinklers went on and now our place is filled with water,' groaned neighbor Karlee Slomski. 'We've got 3 inches of water on the floor. It's coming down the walls, filling up our lights, dripping down from our sprinklers, and down our electrical box.'
Slomski said she and her roommate, Jerry Rose, were debating whether to get a shop vacuum, or to wait for the complex's maintenance crew to mop up the mess.
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