EMS has new tools to help pets in a fire thanks to Cleveland couple’s crusade

Fire gutted their home earlier this year but they turned their attention to helping pets in distress
Published: Jul. 21, 2022 at 7:03 AM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Chris Hutchison and his girlfriend Gina lost nearly everything in a March fire on Dartmouth Avenue on Cleveland’s West side.

“This house fire took everything we owned,” said Hutchinson. “To be able to have our dogs, our dogs mean a lot to us. It’s everything to us actually.”

Fire crews resuscitated three of their dogs using human oxygen masks, but it became the couple’s crusade to get animal masks for every EMS ambulance in the city.

“On behalf of the city of Cleveland, its furry citizens, and the paramedics, I thank you,” said Commander Christopher Chapin in a small ceremony at Cleveland EMS headquarters. “We have enough masks to staff all of our ambulances.”

Hutchison organized a fundraiser at Backstage Bar & Grille in May and raised $10,000, or enough to buy 85 sets of pet masks, which include a mask for a large dog, a small dog, and a cat.

“I didn’t know if this was going to happen. I didn’t know if this was going to work out, but it did and this is awesome for the whole community,” said Hutchison. “Who knows about oxygen masks, pet oxygen mask? Who does? Who thinks about such things?”

For Chris and Gina, it was a way to make sure their loss was not in vain.

“Yeah, the worst day of my life for sure and my girlfriend Gina’s life. Sure, she has turned this to a positive,” said Hutchison.

Their desire to help still burning well after the fire in their home was extinguished.

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