Fire strikes lawn care business
By Scott Bellile
One dog died in a house fire while paramedics and first responders revived two others during a late-morning fire on Quincy Street Monday, Oct. 24.
A passerby reported the fire at 639 E. Quincy St. near Ridgeway Drive before 10 a.m. The house is also home to Kuether Services, a lawn care and snow removal business run by Kelly and Kim Kuether.
The fire doesn’t appear to be suspicious, New London Fire Capt. Don Conat said. The cause is not determined.
No people were home, Conat said. The fire originated in the kitchen and flames were coming out the windows when New London Fire Department arrived, he said.
“The kitchen was pretty much burned out,” Conat said. “The rest of the house sustained smoke and heat damage.”
New London firefighter Tyler Strey said he entered the home with Fire Lt. Ted Coppersmith to search for people because the 911 caller didn’t know if anyone was inside.
The pair knocked down the flames, passed through the smoke and approached the living room window, as people trapped inside burning homes tend to congregate by windows, Strey said.
Strey said he kicked something and realized he had made contact with an unresponsive dog.
“[She] was barely breathing,” Strey said. “I dropped the hose and I grabbed the dog and I ran outside and I tried to find the paramedics. They were down the road.”
As Strey ran about a block to an ambulance down the street, cradling the dog in his hands, firefighters rescued two more dogs that were inside and unresponsive.
The firefighters brought the two dogs to the driveway. One was already deceased. Firefighters devoted their efforts to hooking up the other to an oxygen mask and saving her.
Down the road, paramedics and first responders administered oxygen to the dog Strey rescued.
“They were just barely breathing,” Conat said of the two surviving dogs. “Both dogs we put oxygen on with the doggie mask, and they came to.”
The surviving dogs were 7-year-old black Lab Mya and her daughter, 5-year-old chocolate Lab Sadie, Kelly Kuether said.
Gold Cross Ambulance took them to Wolf River Veterinary Clinic in New London. From there the dogs went to a hospital in Appleton to recover from smoke inhalation.
Six-year-old black Lab Max, Sadie’s father, didn’t live.
“Kind of a bad deal, but two of them survived,” Strey said. “It doesn’t make it good, but better than all three dying.”
“That was a great relief to us with the other two surviving,” Kelly Kuether said. “To my wife and I, those dogs are just like kids to us. They’re like our own kids. Mya was and still is our daughter’s guardian angel, shall we say. She always watches over my daughter. So we were very happy to hear those two made it.”
Still, Kelly Kuether said he’s heartbroken over the loss of Max, his goose-hunting dog. His 12-year-old daughter Cheyanne is taking it hard.
“The building can be replaced,” Kelly Kuether said, “but it was hard losing one of my pups … At least two of them are getting better.”
As for the landscaping business, Kelly Kuether wants his customers to know Kuether Services will be back to work as soon as possible.
“Just be patient,” Kelly Kuether said. “We will be there. We’re not going to let this beat us down. We’re going to keep taking care of everybody just as we always have.”
Conat said having on hand the oxygen pet masks helped save lives.
The masks had been donated to the fire department by New London First Responders as an effort to make a difference in the community when emergency situations arise.