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Spooky The Pit Bull Survives Fire By Hiding In Closet

NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT — While everyone was able to safely escape a fire Saturday at Da Legna restaurant in New Haven, something special was left behind in the rubble.

To those watching the flames rip through the State Street apartments, above the restaurant, it was obvious there would be some major damage. However, once the fire was out and crews started tearing the apartments down they found a surprise.

“All of a sudden a big pit bull sat up in the middle of the debris,” said Kevin Plummer of United Cleaning and Restoration. “We grabbed him by the collar and brought him down to the ground. He didn’t bark. He didn’t growl. He’s a good dog.”

The pit bull, named Spooky, was immediately taken across the street to the animal hospital.

Another dog, named Mona, and a cat, Sammy, were rescued from the fire and all three are on oxygen from the fire. Their owner was hospitalized after a car crash last week, and wasn’t home at the time of the blaze.

Three cats didn’t make it out.

“It does injure the lungs where they can’t process oxygen and they can’t breathe as well,” said veterinarian Kim MacDonald. “It predisposes them to other problems like pneumonia.”

The workers are still amazed they saw Spooky staring at them. The dog was able to survive the fire and frigid weather by hiding in a closet.

“Everything else you can replace, but an animal is like a child,” said Plummer.

The workers feel for Spooky’s owner who lost their apartment and the owner of Da Legna, which has only been open around a month after taking over the former Amato’s Pizza, but they’re hoping Spooky will remind them something good always comes out of something bad.

“It just put a nice sunshine on a little bit of a gloomy day,” said Pat Deleva of Cherry Hill Restoration.

The State Street neighborhood is rallying around the owner of the apartment, whose name is Mike Simonelli, a veteran, who was in a car accident on Friday, and in serious condition in the hospital when his apartment caught fire on Saturday.

“He is a really good guy,” said Lisa Siedlarz, of New Haven, “He served our country. He has lived here a really long time and to have this happen it is a series of tragic events.”

While the animals recover in the vet clinic, Simonelli is recovering in the hospital. Neighbors are hoping everyone will be released soon.

In the meantime, neighbors are raising money for the vet bill and already have more than $1,000.

“On top of that there are people out there who want to donate items for Mike because he lost everything,” said Siedlarz. “We have kitchenware lined up, we need to find out more about clothing size. People are really stepping up for this.”

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