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Retired Pittsfield Firefighter Saves Two Dogs From Burning Home

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
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The fire at 32 New Hampshire Ave. was knocked down quickly.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — When retired firefighter Matthew Kudlate returned to his New Hampshire Avenue home Monday afternoon, he noticed black smoke billowing from his neighbor's house. That's when his instincts kicked in.
"I was just out for a drive, I pulled up to the house and there was heavy black smoke pouring out of the eaves. I called the Fire Department. I went into the back door, I know the neighbors and wanted to make sure they were out of there. I knew they had two dogs and I was able to get them out of the back door," Kudlate said.
Kudlate knew one of his neighbors was disabled and could struggle to get out in the case of a fire. He did a quick search and found nobody inside. 
He then chased after a poodle, which was running around the house, and a golden retriever, which didn't want to move. He pulled each out of them from the home.
"They fought me every step of the way. One was a bit larger, the other was fast and running around," Kudlate said. "They were scared, of course, and were nipping at me on the way out."
As he pulled the last one out, the Fire Department arrived at the scene.
"They got in quick, pulled a line, and saved a good portion of the home," said Fire Captain Neil Myers. "It was a pretty textbook save."
Firefighters confined the fire to the second floor of the home of the family with two children. It isn't known what caused the blaze yet, but the department was able to limit the damage. 
Myers said there is heavy smoke damage on the second floor, mostly confined to the front bedroom where it began. There is also some heat and smoke damage to rooms in the back portion of the second floor. The first floor sustained water damage. Myers credited the firefighters on scene for knocking the fire down quickly, limiting the amount of damage. 
Nobody was injured in the blaze, nor were there any animals harmed. Part of the reason for that is because of Kudlate.
"It was an instinct. I was a Pittsfield firefighter for 10 years. I had to retire because of an injury. It was just instinctual to make sure everybody was out of the house," Kudlate said. 
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