Family dog and 12-year-old girl save Duluth Heights home from fire damage

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A barking dog woke up a girl on Wednesday night, and then she saw flames in the garage. Around 10pm, the Duluth Fire Department responded to the 4100 block of Chambersburg Ave in the Duluth Heights neighborhood.

Zak Radzak, the father of the family talked about how thankful his family is safe, thanks to his daughter and their dog, Dudly.. “Dudley and my daughter, you know, I’m a heavy sleeper and I got that CPAP machine, so I don’t feel real good at night. And being a veteran myself, my hearing’s not the best, so I just don’t hear at night. So if she didn’t come down screaming, it definitely would have got to the house and it would have been a different story. So Dudley and my daughter did a phenomenal job.” Radzak said. “You know, I’ve never been through something like that. I’ve been to war in Iraq and it was a different situation. When you got your wife and kids here so different all together.”

The family of four was asleep at the time of the fire. Radzak’s daughter heard the family dog, Dudley, barking in the heated garage. She looked out her bedroom window and saw the fire, and woke the rest of the family. Dudley was able to escape, with some singed fur. “I ran outside, was able to get into the garage and get the door open and scream for Dudley. There was no flames at that time, but within 15 minutes the whole building was engulfed. I lost it all. I’ve been saving these tools since I’ve been eight years old. I’ve been a tinkerer my whole life. I lost all my hobbies in one night. That’s what happened to me. You always think, ‘what the hell does that matter? I’m here.’ But it’s true. After being through it. It’s true.” Radzak said.

The fire department said the quick action of the young girl definitely saved more damage to the structures. According to her father she acted quickly and calmly. By being dispatched before the fire reached the house the DFD was able to keep the fire out of the house and the family is not displaced at this time. “I never been through anything like this in my life. So we’ll see what happens with the insurance deal, but hopefully rebuild, hopefully rebuild what I lost, you know, it’s never going to be the same. I’m never going to get the pictures of the kids I coached in the past and stuff like that. But hopefully I can get the tools back and get back to a little normality here once this cold goes away. But it’s going to be a process.” Radzak said.

There were no injuries to firefighters. The fire is under investigation by the Duluth Fire Marshal’s office. Initial damage estimates are $80,000 to the structure and contents. The DFD assisted on scene withthe Duluth Police Department, MN Power and Duluth Comfort Systems.