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Howell industrial gas service worker Guy Houseman is a dedicated employee and devoted animal lover. Those two traits recently played a key role that resulted in a lifesaving effort of the four-legged kind in July 2018.
A 26-year employee, Houseman is responsible for performing gas leak investigations and appliance repairs out of Consumers Energy’s Howell service center. He was on call the night of July 3 and responded to an emergency request to shut natural gas off at a house fire on Coon Lake Road in Howell.
When Houseman arrived, firefighters were battling a fully engulfed fire, believed to have been caused by spent fireworks reigniting in the garage. That’s made each task — from tracking orders and operating heavy equipment in the warehouse to checking expiration dates on canned food — just a little brighter.
While he immediately went to work to ensure gas was shut off and performed routine testing of the home’s gas line, Houseman kept thinking he had been to the home in the past. A big animal lover, he also thought he remembered an elderly dog living there – a beagle, if his memory served.
After making the gas situation safe, he requested prior service records for the address. Sure enough, Houseman had performed an Appliance Service Plan repair on the home’s service about a year earlier.
Houseman immediately told firefighters he was sure a dog lived in the home. Firefighters were able to find Pearl, a 12-year-old beagle, cowering underneath a bed. She was scared but not hurt. “When I saw them carrying Pearl out, I teared up. I was so happy she was found safe and sound,” he said.
When Claire Stevens arrived at her home, she too was thrilled that Pearl had been safely rescued. She thanked firefighters but hadn’t had the opportunity to meet and thank Houseman until recently.
“It was surreal and horrible to see the damage to the house, but material things can be replaced. Knowing my children were safe and not home when the fire occurred was the most important thing. It was a very lucky coincidence, maybe even divine intervention, that Guy was the person who responded to turn off the gas because firefighters wouldn’t have known Pearl was inside,” Stevens said.
A happy reunion between Stevens, Houseman and Pearl took place recently. Stevens gave Houseman a long hug of thanks. Meanwhile, Pearl soaked up the attention Houseman gave her, almost crawling into his lap at one point and gazing at him with big brown eyes. She seemed to understand she was licking her hero, the man who was instrumental in saving her life that horrible day when she was surrounded by flames.
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