6 dogs, shed lost in Wednesday night fire

Photo by Per Peterson / A Tuesday night fire destroyed a shed at the David and Ashley Freeburg residence in northern Murray County. Six dogs perished in the blaze.

By Per Peterson /

David and Ashley Freeburg were counting their blessings Thursday morning. They still had their house, and their three kids were safe after a fire quickly engulfed and destroyed a granery-turned-dog shed Wednesday night.

“It’s a pretty negative deal, but you look for the positives and move on,” David said.

The shed was home to six Boston terriers.

“I was just happy it wasn’t my house,” Ashley said. “The first thing that went through my head was, ‘How am I gonna tell my kids?’ because their family dogs were in there. Luckily, my pastor helped me with that. He has such a way with words, and it helped a lot to have that support system.”

A neighbor originally had called the Baptist Church down the road to let Ashley know of the fire.

Emergency personnel from Garvin, Tracy, Slayton and Marshall responded to the 7:24 p.m. fire call at the Freeburg home, about 2 miles south of Garvin on U.S. Hwy. 59. David said it didn’t take long for the old out-building to go down in the flames. He believes the dogs inside — Boston terriers the family raises and sells — might have ripped down materials David had installed to contain heat in the shed and that those materials came in contact with a portable heater.

“I had some insulation hanging up in there to keep the heat down; the only thing I can think of is the dogs have been known to kind of jump up and pull on that. If they pulled that down right on top of the heater … “ David said. “The wall was totally in flames from the inside-out when I came out here.”

David said he’s always had a garden hose at the ready in case of a fire, but the hose has so many links stretched together that it got kinked up.

“I had a couple hoses and thought I could take care of it,” he said. “I suppose I should’ve left all my hoses unhooked, then if I needed more I could’ve added more.”

Ashley is thankful David wasn’t injured as he attempted to fight the blaze prior to when firefighters showed up on the scene.

“He tried, but nothing was working for him,” she said. “Obviously there was a reason for this, and we’re thankful and blessed that it was nothing worse. I knew he was smart enough not to run into the building. It’s devastating to lose animals, but it would’ve been much worse if we’d have lost him.”

The blaze took off so quickly that David didn’t even have a chance to get inside the shed to rescue the dogs. He quickly shut off a nearby propane tank that’s about half full; the flames got to within a few feet of the tank. A large tree right by the tank also caught on fire.

“I’ll take that tree down sometime and cut it up,” he said.

The main building, David said, was about a 12-by-20 structure and included roughly 12-by-20 L-shaped leans around the north and east sides.

“We want to thank all the firefighters who responded,” David said.