Firefighter stock

Firefighter gear and a fire hose.

Doug Ross, The Times

LAPORTE — A hunting dog and her five puppies died in a fire near Michigan City linked to a wood-burning stove.

Anthony White, 26, and Kendra Walter, 21, along with their two young children, made it safely out of the home in the 3100 West block of U.S 20.

White said he couldn’t get back inside to rescue the German shorthair pointers.

"The flames were too much, and I couldn’t get them out,’’ White said.

White said he had the hunting dogs to retrieve ducks and raccoons, but hadn’t gone hunting much lately since having young children. A third child is on the way.

He and his family are temporarily living in a house trailer until they recover from losing practically everything.

LaPorte County Police fire investigator Mike Raymer said the fire began just before 3 a.m. Saturday. It appears to have started inside the chimney pipe of a wood-burning stove in the attached garage, he said.

Creosote from the wood builds up on the walls of the flue, and this stove pipe apparently wasn’t cleaned prior to the start of the heating season, he said.

Raymer said flames or heat emitting from the metal exhaust pipe ignited the wooden rafters of the attached garage.

"It was just too plugged up, and that’s what caused the fire to start," Raymer said.

The flames were contained to the garage and breezeway.

Heavy smoke filtering into the residence and, perhaps, heat melting some of the family’s belongings overcame the dogs, Raymer said.

White said he was renting the home but in the process of buying it after doing extensive remodeling.

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