Images of the fire at the house on Tieman Drive in Glen Burnie on Sunday show its intensity, as Pat Fink, a retired administrative assistant to seven different Anne Arundel County fire chiefs, put her life on the line in an effort to save her two dogs inside.
"She did put herself at risk,” said Capt. Russ Davies of the Anne Arundel County Fire Department, “She was at home by herself. She had two family pets and she called 911 and was making efforts to remove the family pets."
From her house across the street, a neighbor, 82-year old Doris Padden, looked on as the fire jumped from the garage to a number of vehicles to the decorations on the front of the home in a matter of minutes.
"I saw the cornstalks catch on fire and I saw Jerry running up and he couldn't get into the back yard to get her cause it just went 'Woof!'" said Padden, "We stood here. We couldn't get back. We could hear her screaming, and I don't know who the man was, but he hopped on that trailer and he went over and he broke the fence and he brought her back out."
Fink's husband and two sons were in Florida at the time, and even as her house continued to burn and more than five dozen firefighters arrived on the scene, her focus was on her pets that she had risked her own life to rescue in vain.
"She was so worried about the dogs,” said Padden, “Even when she called her husband, she said, 'I tried to save them,' and she couldn't."
Fink retired in 2014 after 33 years with the Anne Arundel County Fire Department.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.