A six-month-old beagle mix named Riggs, once rescued from a burning car by East Haven, Connecticut firefighters, is now their devoted savior. Chief Matthew Marcarelli talks about how Riggs brought a new kind of rescue to their lives.
A beagle named Riggs, who was rescued from a hot car by firefighters, became their faithful companion and morale booster. (East Haven Fire Department)
“We’re all paramedics here and we see a lot of tragedies,” says Chief Marcarelli. “He provides a certain level of comfort.”
Riggs’ journey to hero status began one blustery day in August when he was found locked in a steamy car on a city beach. The temperature inside the vehicle jumped to 122 degrees, while the outside thermometer read 85 degrees.
Firefighters swung into action, rescuing Riggs from a life-threatening situation. “If he had been there any longer,” Chief Marcarelli warns, “there was a very good chance he would have succumbed.”
This incident serves as a crucial reminder to never leave pets unattended in a vehicle. According to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, the temperature inside a car can rise by nearly 20 degrees in just 10 minutes, putting animals in serious danger.
The owner of the beagle mix decided to surrender Riggs, sparing himself a summons and a court appearance. But Riggs’ fortunes truly changed for the better.
Welcomed to East Haven’s main fire station, Riggs found his forever home among the firefighters. He became their faithful companion, boosting morale after challenging calls. “You’ll see guys coming back from a tough fight, and they’re greeted with a wagging tail and a few licks on the face, and they’re immediately playful,” says Marcarelli. “It’s really cool to see.”
The residents of East Haven rallied around the charming pooch, showering him with toys, treats and offers to help cover his expenses. The city even helped give it its name.
Now Riggs is preparing for a new role. He will accompany the firefighters on preventive visits to schools and social events, sharing his friendly and non-barking behavior with everyone. Chief Marcarelli sums up Riggs’ performance, saying, “He’s a loving dog, very gentle, and just a joy to be around.”