Captured On Video: Amazing Rescue Blows Onlookers Away

Jan 18, 2021 by apost team

On a cold winter night shortly before midnight on December 19 2020, a fire broke out at a barn on Erbs Quarry Road in Warwick Township, Pennsylvania.

The Lititz Fire Company responded as quickly as possible to the scene, which was about 30 miles north of Philadelphia. When the 25-year-old volunteer firefighter Ryan Balmer arrived on the scene, a worried neighbor approached Balmer to inform him that the owner's dog, named Sambo, was still trapped inside.

Be sure to reach the end of this article to see the full video

The large barn was already completely engulfed in the hot flames, and the fire was swirling up and away into the night sky. The situation did not look good. Balmer, in his full firefighting gear, assessed the risks and decided he had to do something. He risked his life but knew that the dog’s life was worth the risk.

“If that [was] my dog in there, I would want someone to go in and try to get it out,” he told WPMT. “We have a saying in the fire service, ‘risk a lot to save a lot.’ For that family, I’m sure that dog means a lot.”

The lower rooms below the fiery barn did not appear to be on fire yet, and the firefighter had been informed that the trapped dog was there down below. Balmer quickly rushed forward across the snow and towards the inferno. He looked through the half-opened window and saw the large black Labrador dog in the lower rooms below the barn. The dog was slightly crouched and visibly nervous, but he began to wag his tail, seemingly very happy to see Balmer.

Balmer called for the dog by his name, asking the dog to come forward many times, trying to coax the dog forward. The dog would tentatively come closer but seemed unsure what the firefighter was asking him to do. Balmer continued to call Sambo and pat the window to indicate where he hoped the dog would jump up to. If the dog jumped, it would have allowed the dog to get away from the burning building. However, the jump seemed too daunting, and Sambo instead retreated further into the dark, smoke-filled room, away from the path to freedom.

“I was hoping it was going to jump out the window,” Balmer explained. “It didn’t want to. It kind of got scared and ran back in. So at that point then, I decided to bust the window out, climb in, and help the dog out.”

Balmer began to punch through the glass and pull the frames away from the building. It took a lot of strength and work to get the windows out of the way. As he worked, the fire above him crackled and roared dangerously close. The other volunteer firefighters stood close by, assessing the situation and ensuring that Balmer was safe. They stood by, ready to step in if they needed to.

Once Balmer had removed the window frames, he hoisted himself up and climbed over the broken glass to enter inside the smokey room and get closer to the poor scared dog. Balmer was able to reach down to the dog and gather the heavy dog up into his arms. He turned and hefted Sambo up and over the window sill. Once the dog was over the ledge, the dog jumped down and happily ran away towards the crowds standing nearby. He was free from the burning building. Balmer then quickly climbed out behind the newly freed dog and was able to run away from the burning building safely.

The Crowd Collectively Let a Sigh of Relief

The crowd gathered at the burning barn all exclaimed with relief as they watched the dog get successfully rescued. A scary and sad situation that just as easily could have turned tragic instead turned into a happy story. The neighbor was also visibly relieved as he called the dog over to him. The dog weaved in and out of all the people in high spirits but seeming temporarily confused. He looked as though he wanted to say hello and greet all the new people nearby.

Sambo finally recognized his name being called and sat down in the snow as the neighbor secured him away from the danger. Sambo began to lick his hind legs in earnest quickly but did not appear to be seriously injured. A huge feat was accomplished by rescuing the trapped dog. Balmer was able to take a serious and dire situation and turn it into a successful rescue.

“Typically when we arrive at a Barn Fire, especially when [it’s] fully involved when we arrive, we treat the situation as a ‘surround and drown’ which means we surround the structure, protect any nearby exposures, and put massive amounts of water on the fire until it goes out,” a spokesperson for the Lititz Fire Company said in response to the incident. “First in crews are responsible for stretching handlines, establishing water. It is not often a Barn fire is a rescue situation, but in this instance, it clearly was.”

The fact that there was a dog still inside turned the routine barn fire into a rescue mission. The Lititz Fire Company was very impressed and thankful for Balmer’s quick thinking and actions, saving Sambo's family dog.

“Being a dog owner [myself],” Balmer added, “[and] being Christmas time, it would’ve been a huge damper on the holidays not to have been able to get that dog out.”

Balmer had decided to put himself at risk, as many firefighters do daily, to help save a helpless creature and return him to his family. A dog is a member of the family, after all. Thanks to Ryan Balmer and the Lititz Fire Company, many firefighters out there continue to showcase bravery in the face of extreme danger every day to save life and property from dangerous, destructive flames.

Being as close to Christmas as it was, Balmer saved Sambo and kept the Christmas spirit alive for the family who already lost so much.

So have you been inspired? If you loved this story about the incredible bravery and heroic actions of Ryan Balmer to save a black lab that had been trapped inside of a burning barn, then feel to pass it along to your loved ones.

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