Dog found alive in third-floor apartment 2 days after fire destroyed building in Virginia

When his owner returned to assess the damage, she heard him barking.
Posted at 7:32 AM, Apr 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-03 08:32:25-04

A dog once thought to be lost to a fire in an apartment building in Virginia is now back with his grateful owner.

On Thursday, a five-alarm blaze tore through a three-story apartment building in the Hills at Southview apartment complex in Harrisonburg, leaving dozens displaced, including James Madison University student Kayla Blake.

Blake, who was not home at the time of the fire and who got the devastating call, told ABC News affiliate WHSV-TV that she was a "wreck" after hearing about her third-floor apartment and was particularly concerned about whether firefighters and first responders had rescued her dog, Rebel.

She'd adopted Rebel three years ago from the Richmond Animal League, according to WHSV-TV.

Blake said, however, that a K-9 unit had told her parents it was unlikely that Rebel had survived because of the flames, the smoke and the possibility that the floors had given way in the building.

But two days later, when Blake and a friend returned to the complex to assess the damage, she heard a familiar and welcoming sound from a window: Rebel's bark. She then called the police and fire department, she said.

"Within a few minutes, you know, five, six minutes, one of the firefighters, I heard him yell, 'We got him!' And, he looked out the window and gave me a thumbs up," she told WHSV-TV.

Video from the scene posted to social media showed first responders carrying out Rebel as a crowd of onlookers cheered.

The dog had reportedly been hiding under a desk and a James Madison University flag, an area of the apartment that had not been destroyed by the fire.

According to WHSV-TV, Rebel suffered a burn on his nose and a few dropped pounds due to lack of food. Otherwise, a veterinarian had checked him out and determined him to be OK, Blake said.

"He goes everywhere with me," she said, "so he's definitely gonna be a part of the part of my journey wherever I end up after this."