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Springfield woman credits dog, neighbor with saving lives from fire


A Springfield woman credits her neighbors and her dog for saving her and her family’s life after a house fire destroyed her home.

Tonya Stevens said she, her mother and her son were sleeping in the house at 505 Pleasant St. on Monday afternoon when a fire broke out upstairs.

EXTRA: Urbana House Fire

“The neighbors knocked on my door and my little dog heard it and jumped up and down on my chest,” she said. “Hit me in my face and I woke up and I couldn’t breathe.”

Without the help of her neighbors or the dog, Stevens said she might not be alive.

“I owe (the dog) everything,” she said. “If it happened at night, I’d probably be dead.”

A Springfield Fire/Rescue Division battalion chief believes the fire broke out after the owner of the home used a torch to soften paint on the house.

READ: House fire in Cedarville

No one was injured. About $15,000 of property was lost, according to the battalion chief. The family was working with the landlord to find a place to stay.

Stevens said she put her shirt over her mouth and went to her mother’s room to help her out of the house.

“I ran over to my mom’s room, started shaking her and she wouldn’t wake up. I got her halfway up out of bed and then halfway down the steps and she fell I had to get her up,” Stevens said.

She said she made sure her son was out of the house and then felt obligated to run back upstairs to save other dogs that were in cages up stairs.

“The whole upstairs is full of smoke,” she said. “I don’t have a house.”

PREVIOUSLY: Springfield vacant house fire likely arson

The family had been renting the house for about three years, Stevens said, and enjoys living in the area.

“I don’t want to leave the neighborhood,” she said. “I got good neighbors. I don’t have anywhere to go.”



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