Young Fresno couple reacts to losing everything in a fire, including one of their dogs

Local News

FRESNO, California (KSEE) – A young Fresno couple is still picking up the pieces after they lost everything in a fire Thursday afternoon.

The fire happened near Gettysburg and Chestnut avenues. The two were not home when it happened, but two of their dogs were.

A day after the fire, Emiliana Villegas walked through what’s left of her apartment.

It was Emiliana and her boyfriend Derrek’s Junior’s first apartment, living there just six months before losing everything.

Both were at work when it happened, coming home to devastation, and fear for the fate of their two dogs.

“I saw everything was gone like we had nothing left, one of our dogs passed away in the fire,” she explained. “She was hiding underneath the bed.”

But their second dog, Chai, was trapped inside her crate during the fire until Fresno firefighters pulled her out and gave her CPR. “I definitely feel like they really did their best and saved her. It was unfortunate they couldn’t find my other dog Kiara, but they did what they could,” Villegas said.

Also on scene was Mell Garcia, owner of local animal rescue Mell’s Mutts, to help with rescuing the dogs.

Knowing Chai only had minutes to live, Garcia rushed her to the animal hospital.

“Major relief knowing she was alright, but she was burned pretty badly you can see the burns are pretty severe,” Junior said after knowing the fate of Chai.

Chai is now recovering from burns and smoke inhalation. To donate to her GoFundMe for medical costs, click here.

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