When Kim Swanson saw two dogs pressing their faces against the front window of a burning house, she didn’t think. She acted.
“I just went,” she said. Smoke was flowing out the tops of the windows and out the gutters as she and her partner Karen Swanson-Jacobs started pounding on doors and windows trying to find a way in.
Kim was able to get one dog out of the house near MLK and Pine, but the other ran away. That’s when she took off her outer shirt, grabbed the garden hose and soaked the shirt. Holding the shirt to her face to breathe, she broke a latch to a window and went in.
“I was terribly scared there were kids or somebody in there asleep,” she said. She found the second dog and handed it through the window to Karen.
Then Kim went through the house, checking in closets and under beds. “I heard people sometimes hide in the closet during a fire,” she said. So she checked them twice.
She got a little turned around in the smokey house, and when she finally made her way to the front door, firefighters were there to meet her.
The fire appeared to be confined to the attic or roof of the home, and nobody was home except the dogs.
Sitting on the porch next door to the house that caught fire shortly after firefighters extinguished the flames, Kim could hardly believe what she had just been through.
“It doesn’t seem real,” she said with a slight rasp in her voice from minor smoke inhalation she got while inside. “I am not an impulsive person, I am a very logical person.”
But with the dogs safe in the neighbor’s basement, Kim coughed into her still-damp shirt clutched in her hands.
“I would do it again in a second.”
Early reports are that the fire was contained to the attic and there are no injuries but we’re still confirming details.