By Jacob Engels
It was 4:30 in the afternoon, when David and Roisin Kabot were sitting on their porch relaxing and then saw black smoke coming from behind the apartment buildings across the complex in the GrandeVille apartment community located in Avalon Park.
“We saw the black smoke and called the front office, we weren’t sure if it was a building or the woods that were on fire. Several minutes later helicopters, police, and fire fighters were on the scene.” said Roisin.
GrandVille Maintenance Supervisor John Cardoza said he saw firefighters battling the flames with foam and water around 5PM. At this point, the Orange County Sheriffs Office, Orange County Fire Rescue, and GrandeVille management were evacuating several buildings.
Roisin Kabot, who owns The Boxer Mom, a small business that provides dog walking and pet sitting services, knew that several animals were trapped in the buildings closest to the fires and that at least one of the residences had a window open, allowing smoke to creep inside.
“I started getting calls from my clients who were stuck in traffic trying to get home from work. They were frightened that their dogs were in danger.”
Teena Patel, owner of the University of Doglando, which oversees the Doglando Foundation, said that in 2008 they raised money through the foundation to help retrofit Orange County’s fire engines with pet oxygen masks.
“The pet oxygen masks that we donated to the county could provide oxygen to several types of animals ranging from ferrets to large dogs. I think now is a good time to reach out to Orange County Fire Rescue and see if the equipment needs to be serviced or replaced.” explained Teena.
East Orlando Post reached out to the Orange County Fire Rescue’s spokesman to determine if the fire engines dispatched to fight last nights brush fire were in fact equipped with pet oxygen masks, but our calls were not returned.
UPDATE – Orange County Fire Rescue spokesman John Mulhall just called us and confirmed that most if not all fire engines in Orange County should be equipped with pet oxygen masks, including the ones dispatched to last nights brush fire.
Roisin Kabot and her husband David then moved towards the evacuated buildings and tried to free the trapped canines. “At first we were told we couldn’t gain access to those buildings and I just couldn’t stand the idea of letting those babies remain in danger,” said Roisin.
Eventually, the Orange County Sheriffs Office and Orange County Fire Rescue gave them permission to rescue the dogs.
“We started running down Avalon Park Boulevard and the ash was falling pretty heavily, so I took off my jacket and covered my head and face.”
Her husband David said she had suffered a heart attack in the past and was worried this type of situation might induce another. “I was trying to calm her down, but she wanted to press on and make sure the dogs were going to be ok.”
Finally they gained access to the residences.
“When we reached the apartment both dogs were ok, but one apartment was full of smoke because the window was open. We were able to save Coby and Tiffany and I couldn’t be happier that they are all right,” said Roisin.
Martha Reynolds who owns Tiffany and was stuck in traffic during most of the fire said that she appreciated how much Roisin cared about her dog.
“She rescued my dog after the building was evacuated. She is a godsend.”
We will continue to watch this story and update if we come across anything new.
Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post. Along with the Post, he owns several other business and is currently enrolled at Valencia College. Jacob has lived in Avalon Park since it’s founding and enjoys playing with his black Labradoodle Jasper, listening to indie rock, and seeking out new business ventures. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org