Fire victim credits dog with saving Matittuck home

TIM KELLY PHOTO | Firefighters spraying foam on what’s left of a Mattituck shed Friday night.

As she watched firemen pull down the smoldering lumber that once was her horse run-in shed, a Mattituck woman was counting her blessings that the fire didn’t cross a wooded area to reach her home only 60 feet away.

And she credits her dog for saving the house.

Vicki Johnson was at home at 510 Tallwood Lane off of Cox Neck Road and on the phone with a relative from California early Friday evening when her dog, Tucker, a Jack Russell terrier, alerted her as he started barking loudly and incessantly. And although the building was fully engulfed in flames by the time volunteers from the Mattituck and Cutchogue Fire Departments arrived, they kept the fire contained.

“We are so blessed,” Ms. Johnson said. “Tucker is the hero.”

The cause of the blaze was not known. Ms. Johnson said there was no electrical service to the shed, which in recent years was used as a chicken coop and for storage. Firefighters believed the blaze began in a corner of the building where grain and hay was stored.

The Johnsons kept about 17 chickens, some of whom took to branches in nearby trees.