Fire department saves dog from hot car

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PHOENIX -- A sunny day and a locked car can be a death trap for a child or pet left inside. That's what Tom Kukoly worried about Monday morning when his excited dog accidentally hit the lock button in the car, trapping himself inside and leaving his owner outside in the parking lot.

It was about 10 a.m. and the temperature was approaching the upper 90s.

“We were almost in panic state because the fact it is pretty hot now,” Kukoly said. “The other dog was pretty excited and he put his hand down on the lock mechanism and locked the car up.”

Capt. Rick Loete and other Phoenix firefighters got the call about a lockout and listened to the details.

“It was kind of surprising to see that it was a dog that was locked in the car,” Loete said.

It is usually a child emergency crews are working to rescue, but none of that mattered. When they arrived, they quickly went to work with a special kit they have for these situations.

“You just get the door open enough to get this in there,” Loete said. “Reach down, you can pull the lever, you can hit the button, you can almost do anything.”

Within minutes, Monty was out of the van. Loete estimated the temperature inside to be about 120 degrees.

“I don't think he could have gone much longer,” Kukoly said.

“Some people's pets are their kids,” Loete said. “There is no distinction. Once we get the call it's all business. We're there to do a job and get there as quickly as we can.”