LUTZ — A home gutted by flames, charred wreckage strewn about, smoke billowing. It’s hard to imagine any living being inside the house at 23547 Turtle Lakes Road surviving the Aug. 28 fire.
Add intent, arson and an accelerant to the mix and it seems impossible. But Denali did just that, defying the horrific odds stacked against her.
Denali’s a dog and was inside the house during the two-alarm fire with others. The homeowner’s wife, Brandi Corrigan, planned to destroy the home and everything inside, including Denali. According to investigators, Corrigan poured gasoline throughout the house and on Denali’s body before setting the fire.
Pasco County Fire Rescue found the house engulfed in flames Aug. 28. As firefighters successfully battled the fire, they began rescuing dogs trapped inside. Eight dogs were saved, but one of them, Denali, suffered burns over 35 percent of her body.
The dogs were turned over to Pasco County Animal Services and members of the Palm Harbor-based Suncoast Animal League picked up Denali to rush her to BluePearl Veterinary Partners, a specialty and emergency pet hospital, for immediate treatment.
Denali’s chances for survival were estimated at 50 percent by veterinarians. But after several surgeries and 16 days in the animal hospital, Denali was back on her paws and ready to meet her rescuers at Pasco Fire Rescue.
Suncoast Animal League members picked Denali back up and brought the happy pup to Pasco Fire Rescue Station 23, in Lutz, and Station 26, in Wesley Chapel, on Oct. 3.
Firefighters at both stations were all smiles and so was Denali, who got to check out the areas and fire trucks while wearing some protective bandages as she heals.
Corrigan, whose husband was working as a private security contractor in Iraq at the time of the fire, was arrested on charges of arson, felony animal cruelty and possession of methamphetamine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia.