A terrible situation became one of triumph here. We all simply love heroes, 2 and 4-footed ones both.
Known locally as the Katahdin Building, the circa-1830 brick structure over the years has housed a tavern, the town’s first public library, a bank and offices. In recent decades, the original brick portion and wood additions built later had been converted into 18 apartment units. It also was one of a handful of area apartment buildings in which dogs were allowed to live.
In a scene that brought cheers and tears from the hundreds of spectators who converged at the intersection, a firefighter emerged nearly two hours after the fire started carrying a golden retriever named Bingley who had initially been presumed dead.
Though wet, shivering and a little wild-eyed, Bingley otherwise appeared to be in good condition considering his ordeal. Medical personnel noted some singed fur on his hindquarters but little other apparent damage.
Bingley’s owner, recent UM graduate Jennifer Dunham, was overcome with emotion and declined comment Tuesday evening as she watched emergency rescue personnel dry her dog off with a towel and administer oxygen through one of the special masks for animal rescues recently donated to the Orono Fire Department.
Richard Bowie of the Down East Emergency Medical Institute, who was among dozens of rescue personnel at the scene, said the dog was found on the second floor of the original brick section of the building in a foot of water. The dog had squeezed himself into a small space to escape the fire.
“That dog saved his own life,” Bowie said Tuesday.
“I’m speechless,” UM student Patrick Scholz said shortly after the dog was carried over to a waiting ambulance.