Standing by as firefighters finished putting out a fire that badly damaged their Martinez home Tuesday afternoon, the Mims family had one big concern on their minds.
Their 7-year-old Dachshund, Chip, was still unaccounted for.
No one, except for Chip, was inside the one-story brick home on the 300 block of Deerwood Court at about 2:30 p.m. when Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue responded to the fire.
Within four minutes, crews were at the house, where they found heavy smoke and fire in the back bathroom, said Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Danny Kuhlmann, adding that it took about 10 minutes to have the fire under control.
Not long after firefighters extinguished the flames, Chip came out the front door and was reunited with his family.
“Everything else can be replaced,” said homeowner Jennifer Mims. “He can’t be.”
A Gold Cross EMT used a pet oxygen mask on the dog, which appeared only to be shaken up.
Her husband, James Mims, said he got a call from the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office letting him know about the fire, and he rushed home.
“It’s completely destroyed inside,” said James Mims, who feels fortunate his family wasn’t inside when the fire started and his dog was found safe.
The Mims and their two children will likely stay with family in North Augusta, he said.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation, Kuhlmann said.
The home, he said, has extensive smoke and heat damage in addition to some structural damage.
When firefighters arrived at the home, they saw the back door was open and thought the dog had escaped.
“Evidently he was hidden somewhere,” Kuhlmann said.