California

Cop commandeers rowboat to rescue dog from blazing sailboat at California marina

Police officer rescues dog from burning boat in San Rafael Yacht Harbor

Officer Travis Ruggles rescues a dog on a burning boat in the San Rafael Yacht Harbor.
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Officer Travis Ruggles rescues a dog on a burning boat in the San Rafael Yacht Harbor.

Responding to reports of a fire aboard a sailboat at a California marina, Officer Travis Ruggles spotted something heartbreaking — a cowering dog trapped by flames on the boat’s deck.

Firefighters battling the blaze at 5:30 a.m. Thursday couldn’t reach the dog, San Rafael police wrote on Facebook, so Ruggles commandeered a nearby rowboat at the San Rafael Yacht Harbor.

A bodycam video posted by police shows Ruggles paddling out to the burning vessel in the fiberglass rowboat.

“Come here, buddy,” Ruggles calls as he nears the boat, which had earlier been pushed away from the dock to prevent the fire from spreading. “Come here, buddy.”

Smoke billows from the vessel as Ruggles pulls alongside and the frightened dog barks. He tries to persuade the dog to jump, without success, then pulls it off the deck into the rowboat as bystanders cheer.

“There’s a good dog,” a winded Ruggles says as he paddles back to the dock, where the dog’s reunited with his grateful owner.

The 32-foot sailboat, on which the owner had been living, was then engulfed in flames and sank, reported The Marin Independent Journal. The owner had left the dog aboard to go to work, but returned after being informed of the blaze.

The sailboat and possessions are estimated to be a $50,000 loss, San Rafael Fire Department officials told the publication. The cause remains under investigation.

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