Toddler, faithful dog die side-by-side in fire

SEATTLE — A toddler who died in a house fire was found with his dog and teddy bear next to him and authorities believe the dog tried to protect the boy, a spokesman for Spokane’s fire department said Saturday.

The dog, a terrier mixed breed, also died in the fire that broke out at about 11:30 p.m. Friday, said the spokesman, Brian Schaeffer.

Three other children and two adults escaped the blaze in Spokane’s Hillyard neighborhood, he said.

The dog stayed behind in an attempt to protect the boy, firefighters believe, and the fire was so intense that it melted the metal on the frame of the boy’s bed, Schaeffer said.

As people screamed that a child was still in the house, neighbors dragged a 150-foot hose across the street and sprayed water through a window to try to put out the fire.

The battery in the house’s smoke detector had been removed.