Driver fights to save dogs from burning bus - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Driver fights to save dogs from burning bus

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WILLISTON, Vt. -

A charred shell is all that remains of the Gulliver's Doggie Daycare bus.

"The entire top of it was gone, absolutely gone. It was just engulfed in flames," said Heather Habberfield, the assistant manager at Gulliver's.

Police say a possible mechanical failure led the bus to catch fire Tuesday in South Burlington with driver John Thamman and two dogs on board.

"It was probably the most horrifying events that I have ever been through," Habberfield said. "It was just complete chaos."

Thamman battled the flames and got one of the dogs out alive.

"It was horrifying. It was beyond our worst nightmares, I mean, these dogs are our family," Habberfield said.

The second dog, a chorkie, did not make it, despite the bus driver's efforts.

"He got burned on his back, on his head, his hands, trying to rescue the other dog, but the fire was just too fast," said Amanda Poquette, the general manager of Gulliver's.

The team at Gulliver's routinely watches up to 100 dogs a day here at its Williston headquarters.

"We care more about these dogs than anything else. That's why we are here; that is why we do this," Habberfield said.

For them the loss means more than just one fewer client.

"He was very spirited, always wanted to play. We often had a hard time catching him," Habberfield said.

"He was a small dog. He had a bunch of small dog friends. So, he will definitely be missed," Poquette said.

Wednesday staff members were thinking of the family who lost one of their own. The company did not release the name of the chorkie or its owner.

"We get to see a lot of different dogs and a lot of different families, and for this to happen to anybody, it's awful," Poquette said.

They were thankful for one of theirs who did his best to rescue man's best friend.

"John was just amazing," Habberfield said. "We couldn't have asked anything more of him ever."

Gulliver's insurance company is still working on its investigation into the fire. Right now the company is using a second bus to shuttle dogs to and from the day care.

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Dog dies in doggie day care bus fire

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