Local News

UPDATE: Dog helps rescue man from Onalaska house fire

ONALASKA, Wis. -- A fire that damaged an Onalaska home Monday afternoon started in the kitchen, fire officials say.

Fire Chief Don Dominick tells News 8 the fire caused by an electrical problem severely damaged the kitchen and caused smoke and heat damage throughout the house.

David Cummuta of Madison was sleeping in the basement of the home owned by a friend when the fire started.

Luke, a two-year-old Black Lab mix, woke Commuta and the two were able to get out of the home safely.



ONALASKA, Wis. -- They don't call dogs 'man's best friend' for nothing.

When a house fire broke out Monday afternoon at 513 Green St. in Onalaska, a 2-year-old pooch sprung into action and helped save the life of David Cummuta.

Cummuta, who was sleeping in the basement when the fire broke out, says he likely wouldn't have woken up in time had he not had a helping paw.

"The dog was jumping up on me like he was trying to get up on the couch and I heard glass starting to break upstairs and crackling and I looked up the stairs and there was just a wall of smoke," said Cummuta.

Cummuta and the dog, a black lab mix named Luke, bolted up the stairs and out of the home.

Just minutes later, firefighters arrived to find the home engulfed in flames. There would have been no safe path out of the basement.

"The fire self-vented so it blew out the windows on one side of the house so we had flames that were actually leaving the home," said Chief Don Dominick, with the Onalaska Fire Department.

Outside, Cummuta was thanking his newfound friend. Luke actually belongs to his friend, who Cummuta is visiting for the week.

"I've always loved this dog. He's always been a really good dog but I definitely respect him a lot more for that," said Cummuta, who lives in Madison.

Authorities are happy Luke could help, but Chief Dominick is concerned that the smoke detectors were not working in the home.

"This is another time for everybody to remember to check your smoke detectors and make sure they are working," said Dominick.

Still, Luke is the new neighborhood hero. And he'll be rewarded appropriately.

"A new toy or a big bone," laughed Cummuta.

Investigators are still trying to determine what started the fire. The extent of damage inside the home is still unknown.

Top Videos

Latest News

This Week's Circulars