A selfless act over the Thanksgiving holiday has a local man and his dog healing from painful burns. 24-year-old Josh Blackburn was preparing to deep pit turkeys when his family's small dog fell into the fire.
Without thinking, Blackburn reached in and saved the dog's life.
"I can feel, but it's all numb," said Blackburn pointing to the blisters on his thumb. It's the only part of his right hand with skin. The rest is bandaged after his Pekingese, Sammie, fell into a fiery backyard deep pit Wednesday night. What happened next, Josh says, was instinct.
"Well, I grabbed her by the back of the neck to pull her out. And, I don't know, a combination of my skin and her hair just melted because I just grabbed her by the back of the neck, and she fell back in. I had to go back in to scoop her from underneath," said Josh.
Josh's fiance, Missy Fithian, drove Josh to the hospital.
"It was scary. It was an intense drive. He was in pain and the smell, and it was nerve wracking," said Fithian.
Josh has second degree burns on nearly all of his right hand and first degree burns on his neck and face from smothering the flames on his chest. And, Sammie went from fluffy and soft to singed. Where ever Sammie doesn't have fur, she has burns, but they're healing.
"It was selfless," said Fithian of Josh's actions. "It was just reacting in the moment and doing what you have to do, not thinking about what's going to happen to yourself. Just thinking there's another life at stake and I have to do something about it."
Josh will now have more time with his all of his pets, like his pig, Pork Chop, and the rest of his family. The oilfield welder, who just started a new job, has to heal before he returns.
"They say I won't be working for three months, so I don't want to think about money," said Josh.
Instead, through the holidays Josh's family will be counting their blessings for his bravery.
"I don't think we're going to have as much, but we are all here still," said Fithian of their Christmas.
"I was just trying to keep my dog alive. I don't know. I'm not a hero," said Josh.
Josh is set to have skin graft surgery later this week.
He says he will put a fence up around the deep pit before they use it again.