Off-Duty Firefighter Nets PETA Award for Saving Dog From Burning Home

Sparks Fire Captain Climbs Up to Apartment Balcony to Rescue Trapped Animal

For Immediate Release:
February 13, 2017

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Sparks, Nev. – A PETA Compassionate Action Award is on its way to the captain of the Sparks Fire Department, Phil Felder, who rushed to the aid of residents in a burning apartment building on Saturday, February 4—including a dog who was trapped on a flaming balcony.

Felder, who was off duty at the time, spotted the fire while driving home from a charity event. He ran into the building and, because the family whose balcony was on fire wasn’t home and no fire alarms were going off, went door to door urging neighbors to evacuate. He then climbed up to the second-floor balcony to retrieve the dog, handed the terrified animal to neighbors who had gathered below, and used a fire extinguisher to contain the fire.

“Thanks to Phil Felder’s unhesitating bravery, all residents of the apartment building, including this terrified dog, are safe today,” says PETA Vice President Colleen O’Brien. “PETA hopes his courage and determination will inspire others to come to the aid of those in need.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—encourages all guardians to put a sign on their doors or windows to alert rescue workers to the presence of dogs, cats, and other animal companions. Families can order stickers from the PETA Catalog or make their own.

PETA is sending Felder a package of the stickers to give to Sparks-area residents, along with a framed certificate, a box of delicious vegan cookies, and a copy of The Engine 2 Diet, a Texas firefighter’s 28-day plan for improving one’s health by eating plant-based meals.

For more information, please visit

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


Get PETA Updates

Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.

 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind