East Haddam

Fire Victim Credits Dog For Saving His Life

Samuel Shelby escaped a house fire after his dog Bubba woke him up.

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With flames climbing the walls toward his upstairs loft, Samuel Shepley says his dog Bubba saved his life.

Shepley says he and Bubba were in their East Haddam house Thursday when fire started in a lower floor around 4 a.m.

“He started barking and if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be here right now,” said Shepley.

Shepley says as he slept in the upstairs loft the fire started in a lower floor, and took only seconds before the house was ablaze.

“It was just completely engulfed in smoke. I couldn’t see anything. I couldn’t breathe,” he said.

Bubba, a 5-year-old Brazilian Mastiff, was asleep in Shepley’s bed when the fire started. He alerted Shepley, who scrambled to escape.

“I tried to bring my dog with me and get out as fast as I could but I couldn’t get the dog out in time and the entire house just went up in flames in like seconds,” said Shepley.

With the house still burning Shepley tried to save the dog he describes as his best friend, a dog he adopted when it was just 18 months old.

“I grabbed a ladder and tried to get up through the upstairs window and I kicked it in to get him out but it was just too late,” explained Shepley.

Sadly, Bubba died in the fire. Shepley, and his mother, who lives in another building on the property, were taken to the hospital for smoke-related injuries. Shepley says he was taken to Middlesex Hospital then flown by Lifestar to Bridgeport Burn Center. He was released Friday.

All was lost in the fire. What remains are charred ruins of the home Shepley grew up in with his brother and two sisters. More important than material possession though, is Bubba, a dog Shepley will forever remember as his hero.

“It’s the hardest thing for me,” said Shepley. “I don’t care about the house or anything. I just want my dog back.”

Shepley says he slept with Bubba every night and that may have been the very key to him alerting him to the fire.

“I truly believe he was brought here into my life for a purpose and he did his last job,” said Shepley.

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