US Air Force Airman’s dogs injured in house fire, raising money for treatment

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Alexander Rodriguez made a horrible discovery after arriving home recently, there had been a fire at his house and all three of his dogs had suffered severe smoke inhalation.

The fire caused structural damage to the kitchen and smoke damage to the house on West Carmen Street. Rodriguez’s dogs, Cache, a 2-year-old German shepherd; Cyl, a 1-year-old chow mix; and Emma, a 7-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, were all injured.

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“When I got home, I didn’t know what was going on but I saw that my blinds had melted and there was smoke everywhere,” Rodriguez said in a BluePearl Veterinary Partners press release.

“I was in a state of shock. It didn’t seem real to me.”

He rushed them to the BluePearl. Dr. Lee Burstiner examined the dogs and said it was too early to see the whole extent of the lung injuries, but the dogs will likely need to be hospitalized and treated for a while.

Smoke inhalation treatment is expensive because it requires around-the-clock monitoring and intensive oxygen therapy.  Rodriguez said he couldn’t afford the cost for all three dogs, so Frankie’s Friends pet charity is stepping in to help raise money.

If you would like to donate to the Frankie’s Friends fundraiser, you can click here. A GoFundMe account has also been set up here. According to BluePearl, $6,500 has been raised so far, and the treatment will cost $10,000.

“Our hearts go out to Airman Rodriguez, particularly in light of the valuable service he has given our country,” said Bonita Voiland, executive director of Frankie’s Friends. “That’s why we’re asking the public to help us ensure he has a happy holiday season with his beloved dogs by his side.” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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