A man and his dog narrowly escaped an intense fire Saturday in Lebanon, and both face a long road to recovery.
Danny Clemmons is now out of the hospital and giving plenty of credit to first responders who saved not one, but two lives.
As difficult as it is, Clemmons returned home Monday for the first time since the fast-moving fire ripped his life apart.
"It's devastating. I feel really horrible," Clemmons said. "It was fully involved, and there was nothing I could do."
Clemmons had just arrived home Saturday afternoon, and not even 10 minutes after stepping inside, he found himself running back out.
"The power went off, and I immediately smelled smoke," he said. "I came out of the bathroom and my whole living room was a blaze."
His dog, Peyton, was still trapped inside.
"The police kept me from rushing back in. I was frantic," Clemmons said.
Clemmons attempted to go back in twice to get his dog, but the smoke and flames were too much for him.
"I tried to get the hose pipe and spray it down, and that's when the heat and soot got to me," Clemmons said.
Firemen were able to locate and save Peyton, but he suffered burns on 50 percent of his body. He also suffered internal injuries to his lungs and liver.
The dog has been under the care of Dr. Perry Harmon at Tennessee Veterinary Care in Lebanon, but Peyton was transported to an emergency veterinary center in Nashville, where he was put on an oxygen tank and will receive care around the clock.
The 5-year-old black lab is a service dog. Clemmons is a diabetic and suffers from depression, but he knows the dog is not just a friend. He's his lifeline.
"He's my anxiety medicine. He's my best friend. We're just jointed at the hip," Clemmons said.
Friends like Judy Taylor are helping Clemmons through this difficult time.
"This has really traumatized Danny. It has really left him in a shell," Taylor said.
The main priority right now is praying for Peyton.
"He's a great dog, and if I lost him, it would devastate me 10 times more than anything I lost materially," Clemmons said.
Officials are still working to determine the cause of the fire.
Clemmons wished to pass along a word of thanks to the firemen who gave Peyton mouth-to-mouth resuscitation after they pulled the unconscious dog out of the fire.
Clemmons lost everything in the fire and didn't have any rental insurance.
Donations are being collected for both Clemmons and Peyton at Tennessee Vet Care, at 105 West End Heights in Lebanon.
Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Friday, August 29 2014 2:20 PM EDT2014-08-29 18:20:38 GMT
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