Teachers credited for saving animals in fire

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- Some Phoenix teachers get an "A" for effort after coming to the rescue after-hours. They saved some animals from a fire at 21st and Maryland Avenues, right across from their school.

The teachers work at Maryland School, and say they knew something was terribly wrong when they heard an explosion. Three teachers ran across the street to help, and another called 911.

The dramatic moments unfolded around 5:30 p.m. when witnesses say an eerie sound echoed through the neighborhood. "We just heard an explosion and saw just lots of dark smoke, saw the window crash and saw the dog run out, and there's also a blind dog," said school principal Rebeccah Potavin.

Phoenix firefighters were on the scene moments later and found two other dogs hiding under a bed. In all, four dogs and a bird were safely rescued. Firefighters say had Potavin and her colleagues not responded so quickly, the animals may not have survived the smoke and flames.

The homeowners were not inside at the time. The home suffered significant damage but firefighters tried to salvage what they could. "Obviously our first run is to save lives and property; it's important. We're in a recession and we try to help with people's valuables that people can't replace," said Phoenix Fire Captain Joellen Caldwell.

She says had it not been for such a valiant effort on everyone's part, the outcome would most definitely been a devastating one. Investigators are working to determine a cause of the fire