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Pit Bull Credited with Saving Life in Kokomo

May 11, 2007 07:17 AM EDT

Kadense, a 1 1/2-year-old pit bull (KT photo by Tim Bath)

Tribune staff writer

KOKOMO, Ind. - If it wasn't for the actions of Carroll McKoon's 1 1/2 year-old pit bull Kadense, McKoon's 70-year-old uncle, Bruce Price, might not be alive today.

Like most house dogs, Kadense often barks when she hears something unusual or someone outside.

But when she barked continuously, jumped at the door and started howling Tuesday morning, McKoon's 19-year-old son, Jason, knew something was amiss.

"She was flipping out," he said of the dog's actions, which McKoon believes saved her uncle's life.

"When we walked out, the whole side of the apartment was orange and the shed was on fire. My buddy called 911 and I went and pounded on my uncle's door," Jason said of the 2:20 a.m. blaze that damaged several structures behind the house at 523 W. Jefferson St.

Jason managed to get his uncle safely down the stairs of his apartment despite flames roaring nearby.

"It was about 10 yards away," Jason said of the blaze. "It reached all the way up to the tree."

The fire originated from a shed behind a vacant home at 527 W. Jefferson St., and spread to a garage behind the house and next door to the apartment and the outside of McKoon's house. A second shed and a garage also sustained damage in the fire.

Kokomo Fire and Arson Investigator Pat O'Neill said the blaze, along with a vacant house fire April 15 at 318 W. Jefferson St., are believed to have been intentionally set. The owner of the first home lives in Pennsylvania.

"The two fires are related," O'Neill said Wednesday.

No one was injured in either fire.

"It was destroyed," Carroll McKoon said of her uncle's apartment. "The water damage was unbelievable.

"One of the firefighters I talked to said if it wasn't for that dog, my uncle wouldn't have made it," she said Wednesday with Kadense by her side.

"She dearly loves Uncle Bruce. He brings her treats all the time."

Pike, a Vietnam War veteran, just moved into the apartment in September after moving from Germany where he had lived for the last 35 years.

According to McKoon, the Red Cross is currently paying for Pike to stay at the Comfort Inn while trying to find him another apartment.

McKoon said Kadense was close to Pike, as she is with most people.

"I hate it when I see the media doing bad stories about pit bulls. She's a sweetheart," she said.

"She loves everybody. They say a lot of bad things about pit bulls, here's one that did so good."

-- From WISH-TV newsgathering partner The Kokomo Tribune

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