Beacon Journal staff writer
Richard Beretics nearly lost it all when a fire ripped through his home Thursday morning.
His only solace emerged through the blowing, thick smoke as an Akron firefighter exited the Wood Street house with Cassie dangling from his arms.
Cassie is Beretics’ young Rottweiler.
“It was just like you see on TV,” Beretics marveled. “The firefighter walked through all this smoke carrying Cassie, just like he was a hero. To me, he is a hero.”
At first, Beretics thought his companion was dead. She was not. While Beretics was treated for minor smoke inhalation, he used a breathing apparatus supplied by firefighters to help Cassie overcome the smoke.
Beretics’ home, and all of his possessions, were destroyed in the flames and smoke.
“Everything’s gone,” he said. “I don’t know what I’d do if I lost Cassie, too.”
The house is tucked behind the former Radiator Rich repair shop at 77 Wood St., just north of West Market Street near the Akron Innerbelt. About six years ago, Beretics relocated his longtime business to 220 E. Mill St.
Beretics, 54, had lived at the house for about 13 years. He suspects an electrical short of some kind might have triggered the fire, which was discovered about 11:20 a.m.
A nearby worker contacted him, and he rushed to his home to find his dog still inside. His whistles failed to alert the purebred Rottweiler. Instead, a firefighter whose name Beretics doesn’t know, went inside the smoke-filled house to rescue the dog.
Firefighters estimate the blaze caused about $100,000 in damage to the house and a trailer on the property. They say another $70,000 in damage was done to Beretics’ personal property.