Dog honored after waking owner up during Beaufort County house fire

Curly the dog woke his owner up when he smelled smoke, and got him out within enough time to...
Curly the dog woke his owner up when he smelled smoke, and got him out within enough time to save his life and his home.(Beaufort/Port Royal FD)
Updated: Oct. 7, 2019 at 7:58 PM EDT
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BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - A dog is now being honored after he woke his owner up during a fire.

The fire that took place overnight left a man displaced, but it could have been a lot worse if his best friend hadn’t been around.

Curly the dog woke his owner up when he smelled smoke, and got him out within enough time to save his life and his home.

Now Curly is being honored by Peta. Peta is sending him a Heroic Dog Award.

Brian Rand, Curly’s owner, told Peta, “People keep asking me, am I upset about losing my things. As long as I have Curly by my side, I have what I need.”

“Curly showed unconditional love and selfless bravery in saving his best friend’s life,” says PETA Vice President Colleen O’Brien. “Rescued dogs rescue us right back—and PETA encourages anyone with the time and resources to care for an animal to adopt a lovable dog like Curly from a shelter.”

Curly will receive a framed certificate and a special gift basket filled with toys and vegan treats.

Rand is also thankful for the people around him that night.

“I got great neighbors on this street,” Brian Rand said.

You wouldn’t expect someone who just lost so much of their home to be so positive, but Rand is happy to be safe with his dog. Curly had woken him up when the fire-ravaged his porch and attic. If he hadn’t gotten out when he did, he would’ve been in the room when the ceiling collapsed.

“I thought when he came in and started poking me, that my phone alarm was going off,” he said.

But it wasn’t time to get up yet. It was just before 1 a.m. when Curly had smelled the smoke and warned his owner. Rand said his first thought was that he hadn’t cooked that night.

“So I got up, and as soon as I walked in the hallway, I mean, I could really see the heavy smoke.”

Rand grabbed Curly, ran outside, and called 911.

“I was just out in the backyard, and their station is just up the street, and I could hear the truck already blasting,” he said.

Emergency sirens arrived within minutes.

“I actually checked the response time, and it was less than four minutes from the fire station to the scene,” said Ross Vezin, Beaufort Fire, Communications.

He says it ended well, but it’s a lesson for those who don’t have the fire safety equipment they need.

“You know, we got lucky. Curly woke up his best friend, but you always need a working smoke detector.”

The fire department says they know fires double in size every 30 seconds, and despite their quick response, Rand still lost half of his home.

“You know, I’m really close to the 50 percent mark of ‘can they salvage it,” he said.

He and Curly love the land too much to give it up, and they will be staying.

“Definitely going to rebuild. I mean, you can’t beat this,” he said.

Despite the tragedy, Rand is still laughing.

“The thing I didn’t realize is my neighbors were showing up and everything like this, and I’m walking around in my underwear!”

Rand says when he went looking for a dog, he wanted something small, but it turns out, he got lucky he had the 70-pound Curly.

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