'It was time to get him': Firefighter rams gate to save man from pit bull attack

Orting Valley Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief Steve Goodwin said he rammed a gate to rescue a UPS driver from a pit bull attack. (Photo: KOMO News)

PUYALLUP, Wash. -- A fire chief said he had to take matters into his own hands when a UPS driver was attacked by pit bulls.

Orting Valley Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief Steve Goodwin said he rammed a gate when someone at the house refused to open it.

The rolling chain-link gate in question is back upright now after the Fire Department crashed through it Wednesday. Pierce county animal control said 911 received a frantic call from a UPS driver that he was being mauled by four pit bulls. He said he was injured and seeking refuge atop a 4-foot trailer.

"I was pretty scared that he was going to get pulled off of the trailer," said Goodwin who was first on the scene. "He had a dog that was latched on pretty well."

But the big gate and someone at the property stood in his way. He said, "I repeatedly asked the person at the gate if they would open the gate. They would not comply with what I requested and looked up again and decided it was time to go get him."

Goodwin took a Fire Department SUV and smashed through the gate and drove up to the UPS driver allowing him to slide through the open passenger window to safety.

He can't fathom why someone would try to stop him. "Never been turned down from someone when I'm attempting to help somebody."

"I honestly think that's kind of ridiculous," said neighbor Ariel Atkins. "Because he needed help. If he was up on a trailer trying to get away from these dogs, he needed some help."

The Pierce County Sheriff's Office and county animal control are taking a hard look at the case. Brian Boman, animal control supervisor, "If somebody is in the process of actually being attacked by animals and they're refusing aid and allowing us to intervene, that's one of those that's almost 'obstruction.' "

We are hearing from people who say they know the owner of the dogs. They claim the UPS driver should never have gone into the heavily fenced yard. They say there are 'beware of dog' signs, though KOMO News didn't see any. That doesn't answer the question of why the rescuers weren't let in.

The UPS driver is recovering from his injuries. The dogs are being held in quarantine while it's decided if the owner will get them back considering the fact they were in a fenced yard.

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