Christiansburg police captain still recovering after saving man, dogs from burning home

Capt. Doug Weddle is recovering from smoke inhalation

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. – On Tuesday, Christiansburg announced the fire department determined the fire was caused by improperly disposed smoking materials.

The Christiansburg police captain credited with saving a man and his four dogs from a burning home is still recovering, and now he’s speaking out to WSLS 10.

"As I passed the downtown area, we got the call for the structure fire which was fully involved, only a few hundred yards from where I was at," Christiansburg police Capt. Doug Weddle said.

Weddle was the first responder on the scene. When he got there just before 1 p.m. Saturday, he saw a home in the 100 block of Hill Street completely engulfed in flames.

“As I neared the rear corner, I saw a bunch of dogs inside that were literally jumping at the windows trying to get out and that kind of gave me a gut instinct that someone was inside," Weddle said.

That's when Weddle decided to search the house.

"It was incredibly smoky but I kicked whatever it was out of the way, I went into the bedroom and I could make out a figure laying there and I grabbed him," Weddle said.

Police say the man inside was sleeping with a CPAP mask on, which protected him from the smoke. For Weddle though, it was a different story.

"As soon as the fresh air hit me, I started getting sick," Weddle said.

Weddle was treated at the hospital for smoke inhalation, but is doing well Monday.

“I've got the world's worst sore throat that I've probably ever had in 48 years, but I'm good. Man, I'm blessed every day I can wake up and I'm healthy," Weddle said.

Weddle says he spoke with family members Monday afternoon who say they're grateful for his life-saving actions.

"I didn't think about it as being that big of a deal. It's part of what we do every day. Just glad, glad that we were at the right place at the right time to make a difference," Weddle said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Crews were not able to get out to determine that Monday because of the rain.

Weddle says his message for others in light of this experience is to take necessary fire safety steps. Click here to see some of those.