Photo: Portsmouth Firefighters Nab PETA Award for Saving Dog and Elderly Guardian From Garage Fire

For Immediate Release:
December 15, 2023

Nicole Perreira 202-483-7382

Portsmouth, Va. – This week, PETA presented Portsmouth Fire Rescue and Emergency Services with a Compassionate Fire Department Award for saving an elderly man and his dog from a burning garage in the Park Manor neighborhood on the morning of December 5. According to reports, the man was hanging out of a window of the detached garage and unable to use the stairs to escape—so rescuers used a ladder to reach him and his dog and get the pair to safety.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the flames and report that everyone involved is now doing fine. To thank the rescuers, PETA awarded them with a framed certificate—along with some delicious, dog-shaped vegan chocolates.

PETA Associate Director of Local Affairs Rachel Bellis (back, center), with members of Portsmouth Fire Rescue and Emergency Services Battalion 2, Engine 10, Ladder 10, and Engine 7. Credit: PETA.

“Thanks to Portsmouth firefighters’ kindness and quick thinking, this dog and his guardian survived a harrowing fire and are both safe,” says PETA Senior Vice President Colleen O’Brien. “PETA salutes these rescuers for looking out for everyone, regardless of species, and hopes this story inspires others to come to the aid of those in need.”

PETA encourages all animal guardians to watch PETA’s fire-safety video, to make a plan for evacuating with animal companions in case of an emergency, and to put a sign on their doors or windows in order to alert rescue workers to the presence of dogs, cats, and other animals. Families can order stickers from the PETA Shop or make their own.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.

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