Posted at: 09/12/2013 5:20 PM
| Updated at: 09/12/2013 7:12 PM
By: Mark Mulholland
VISCHER FERRY - It happened Wednesday afternoon.
The old home at the corner of Riverview and Crescent Roads was on fire.
The rear of the historic old building, where Joe Ventrano, his parents and two sisters lived, was fully engulfed. Joe's mother was home at the time, and the whole family rushed to the scene. When they arrived, they were relieved to find that their mother made it out safely, but heartbroken to learn that the family dog was still inside the burning building.
"I got home and they told me we couldn't find Sparky anywhere. But everyone else was out of the house, which I was very thankful for. But, you know he's part of the family and that's really hard to deal with," said Joe Ventrano, about his family's dog.
Firefighters and the family presumed Sparky had died in the fire. But long after they'd given up hope, the dog emerged from the burned building.
"We stood around. It was four hours after the fire was extinguished. All of the firefighters were outside and here comes Sparky, running out of the house," said Ventrano. "So it was really cool."
Firefighters told Joe that somehow Sparky had sought safety in the bathtub and the bathroom door closed behind him.
"They said the fire stopped right at the bathroom door, which is nothing short of a miracle. And he hid in the bathtub," said the 18-year-old Ventrano who moved here with his family from North Carolina in August.
The Chow-Terrier mix had been abandoned six years ago on the Fourth of July. Ventrano's family found him, took him in and named him Sparky. But the name has even more meaning after he survived four hours inside a home that burned down around him.
"He's the miracle dog. I think that's an appropriate name. He's doing just fine," said Ventrano. "It was nice to take something away from something so horrible to at least get some kind of happiness out of it."
The family plans to rebuild and open the historic general store on the first floor of their home. They've been searching for names and are now considering "Sparky's General Store."
Sources say investigators have not ruled out the possibility that this fire and another reported just a few minutes later on Englemore Road in Clifton Park were intentionally set. Both of the homes are near Vischer Ferry fire houses.