Retired fire battalion chief’s dog rescued before Marshall Fire destroyed home

Local News

SUPERIOR, Colo. (KDVR) — As flames blew toward Superior, Michael Dempsey quickly evacuated. But he realized his neighbor, retired Boulder Fire Department Battalion Chief Gil Espinoza, was gone — and his dog Chief was crated inside the home.

“I saw the flames kind of licking into his yard. At that point I just acted, and I kicked the door in, and I saw his big scary black German shepherd, Chief, barking at me,” Dempsey said.

Video shows Dempsey loading Chief into his car as smoke blows across the road. “I’m just so glad that Chief gets to bark another day,” Dempsey said.

Espinoza said he’s grateful.

“He could have died,” Espinoza said.

The homes in the neighborhood were leveled by flames. Dempsey is an art broker and lost a large art collection.

Espinoza fought in Vietnam and fought fires for 37 years. He is not used to being on the other side of disaster.

“You are trained to be who everybody comes to, and when you’re the one that needs it, it’s a very difficult shift,” Espinoza said. “I don’t like it.”

Here are some ways to help Espinoza, Dempsey and their neighbors:

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