Dog(not)gone; "CC" survives house fire, three days in ruins - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Dog(not)gone; "CC" survives house fire, three days in ruins

ROSSVILLE, GA (WRCB) -- James Burnette's son, grandson and granddaughter would have barely enough time to get out  themselves last Wednesday, when their Rossville home turned fireball.

"Your dog's gone, where the two words that came out of his (the Fire Captain's)mouth,"Burnette says. "Your dog's gone."

His pet Shih Tzu, "CC."

"Short for Car Chaser," Burnette says. "My wife died three years, ago, and that's the only thing I had left to remember her."

"I felt I had let everybody down," his grandson Josh Capps says. "I tried four times and couldn't get to her."

"Home" on Greenlake Circle, is charred through to the exterior stone veneer. Furniture, photos, gone.

"I thought if we went in that house, we would find her burned up--under the bed," Burnette says.

But Saturday, his third walk-through, grandson Josh would hear a whimper.

"It's like my heart about jumped up," he says. "I had to lift up that bed by myself , and scootch underneath it. And she was jet black."

Wet. Covered in ash and soot. Shivering.

"Three days in this, from a fire that would kill any human," Burnette says, his eyes glistening.
"The Lord would have something to do with that."

"CC" was far from okay.

Burnette would call four veterinarians before finding Dr. Daniel Nepp, at VCA-Catoosa Animal Hospital in Ringgold.

"He said 'yes Sir, bring that dog to us and we will stay here and wait on her," Burnette says.

CC would stay two days, taking fluids intravenously before she was ready to go home.

"I told him (Dr. Nepp) that I'd pay him a little bit from my Social Security check, but he told me not to worry about that for right now."

Worries are aplenty.

The fire destroyed one car, and heavily damaged another of the neighbor next door. Burnette's home insurer hasn't told him when he'll be paid, or how much. He, his son, daughter, grandson, grand-daughter and his grand-daughter's boyfriend don't know where they'll be living in the meantime.

But Burnette has many to thank.

Terry Kilgore and his companion, Ranae Holland, spotted the fire during a chance drive through the neighborhood.

"She called 911, and I pounded on the front door to make sure they (Burnette's family) knew about it," Kilgore told Channel 3 last Thursday.

"They actually saved, one, my granddaughter," Burnette says.

Liberty Baptist Church in Ringgold has provided money to cover a hotel stay. Burnette's lung specialist has provided critical care and help with medication.

And then they have "CC."

Georgia's Fire Marshal hasn't determined exactly what caused the fire, but "we don't believe it's suspicious, and we're leaning toward electrical problems," spokesman Glenn Allen says.

"I think she ('CC') was trying to tell us something," Burnette says.

Two days prior to the fire, 'CC' balked at going back inside the home after her walk, he recalls.

"She kept sniffing around, near the walls, and we got this strange smell."

"Like plastic burning," Josh adds.

"CC" might stand for "constantly coughing" thanks to her ordeal. 

But Josh and his grandfather believe their dog's survival is a sign.

"This fire has strengthened us as a family," Burnette says.

"I know never to give up and to keep my head up," Josh says

"She ("CC") is  a walking angel. And I just look at that as a miracle, keep my head up.

"God's gonna take care of me."


SunTrust Bank
Ringgold, GA
Account: James David Burnette


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