Colo. Woman Recalls Close Call in House Fire

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. -- A family dog helped save a woman when her Highlands Ranch home caught fire Thursday. Goldrie Huenink told 7NEWS that she, her daughter, daughter’s boyfriend and another friend were all upstairs when they smelled smoke...


HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. --

A family dog helped save a woman when her Highlands Ranch home caught fire Thursday.

Goldrie Huenink told 7NEWS that she, her daughter, daughter’s boyfriend and another friend were all upstairs when they smelled smoke.

Huenink said she grabbed the fire extinguisher, ran downstairs and noticed smoke coming out of the floor vents.

“When I opened the basement door, I was hit in the face by a blast of hot, black smoke,” she said. “I dropped the extinguisher because I knew it wouldn’t handle what was burning down there.”

She said she yelled at the kids to get out of the house, then, against her better judgement, went back upstairs to get her dog, wedding ring and cell phone.

“I took a chance I shouldn’t have taken,” she said. “It didn’t occur to me that the fire could move that fast.”

Huenink said the smoke followed her upstairs and was so thick she couldn’t see.

“I had to get down on the floor and belly crawl back to the stairs,” she said. “My dog was with me and helped me get back down.”

The Highlands Ranch woman inhaled so much smoke that paramedics wheeled her to an ambulance and took her to a nearby hospital for treatment.

She told 7NEWS she believes she was within minutes of being killed.

The fire destroyed the home on Little Gull Court. Video from Airtracker7 showed the flames consuming the large deck and then racing up the rear of the home as firefighters fought to save the remainder of the structure on the corner of a cul-de-sac.

Investigators say it may take a while to determine the fire’s cause.

They say they’re waiting for test results to determine if there is any asbestos in the charred remains of the house before they can start removing part of the structure to get down into the basement area.

Huenink said the family lost nearly everything. The clothes she was wearing on Friday were borrowed from a neighbor.

Huenink said her daughter was able to grab her cellphone as they escaped the fire. Today, investigators were able to salvage a jewelry box.

Tim Huenink pulled a medallion out of the box and held it up to his wife.

“Look at that,” she said.

Time Huenink said the medallion was a memento of the time he spent working for the government in Iraq.

Moments earlier, Goldrie became emotional when describing what all she lost.

“I lost my house. I lost my children’s baby pictures,” she cried.

“The house and most of the belongings are replaceable,” Tim Huenink said. “My wife and children are not.

The Hueninks gave thanks to neighbors who have been helping the family with food and clothing.

Goldrie Huenink noted that the slippers, pajamas and sunglasses she was wearing today were given to her by a neighbor.

“If you don’t know the people in your cul-de-sac, if you don’t know your neighbors,” she said. “Go knock on their door and introduce yourself because they may save your life one day.”

Report a typo or inaccuracyIf you have a news tip or a follow-up to this story, e-mail us.Copyright 2011 by TheDenverChannel.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, r