ETOWAH COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - An Etowah County family has survived a house fire, including two very brave dogs.
Chloe Antonelli, 21, and her brother Tyler Thrasher, 13, were home alone Monday morning, Memorial Day, in their Southside home. Trent and Jenny Thrasher had gone to New Orleans to celebrate Trent’s 50th birthday.
The Thrasher family’s German Shepherd, Harper, woke up Tyler Thrasher around 1:30 by scratching on his bedroom door. He and another dog, Oprah, had been sleeping with him.
Chloe says Tyler is usually suspicious and quick to check out things as a result.
Tyler, in turn, went to the kitchen to get a glass of water, discovered the flames and alerted Chloe.
Ultimately, the siblings got out of the home with their lives and all but one of their pets, their dachshund Sophie. Chloe and Tyler were treated and released from a nearby hospital for smoke inhalation. Their home was a total loss, and a next door house received some heat damage.
“If it wasn’t for Harper making noise, we probably wouldn’t be here,” said Chloe as she choked back tears.
Ironically, Chloe Thrasher says Harper wasn’t well behaved until they got extensive training for her some months ago.
“She just went through training, so it’s crazy, it’s like, she was supposed to go through that. I mean, it’s crazy how things added up, it’s like, it’s insane, is all the words I can say,” said Chloe.
Chloe remembers worrying about Sophie, wondering how they would break the news to her mother, Jenny. They never found her during the next few days, and were concerned about finding her charred remains in the house.
“It was sad, because she was really the only major thing we lost,” Chloe said, again choking back tears.
But that wasn’t what happened.
Tuesday night, Chloe, her sister, and their brother left a family dinner at El Tapatio Mexican Restaurant and made a sweep of as much of the house as they could see with a flashlight after dusk.
“I wanted to go look at this front room because it had the least amount of damage,” Chloe said. “There’s a couch and a fireplace, and there’s a corner in that room, and as soon as moved the flashlight across the room, you could see two eyes shining from the flashlight.”
Chloe says she first thought they were the eyes of a wild animal. But her sister pointed out it was Sophie. They took her to a 24 hour vet, already noticing she didn’t have a burn on her body but she was wheezing, perhaps from smoke and soot.
After an overnight stay the vet pronounced Sophie healthy, and she was reunited with her family Wednesday.
“Her lungs were fine. She wasn’t burnt, she was just a little dusty,” recalled Chloe.
Chloe says she and her family suspect either Chloe escaped from the fire and came back later to the only place she knew, or amazingly even stayed in the house during the fire and for a full 24 hours later, seeking shelter under a couch. Chloe says everything in that room was damaged but very little was burned or melted in that room.
“I don’t think we’ll ever really know, because anything could happen at this point.”
The Thrashers say they have no idea what caused the fire or in what part of the house it may have started.