Apartment fire survivor searching for his missing dog
SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- Ashton Van Camp was alerted to the unthinkable at around 2 PM Sunday.
His two-year-old German Shepherd dog named Bella, frantically woke him up as flames tore through their building at Prosper South Bend Apartments. This was one of multiple fires to break out at the complex in just one week.
“I looked out the window and saw that the flame was all the way at my window,” tenant Ashton Van Camp said. "People were screaming at me to get out and everything so my first instinct was to walk to the door and feel around the door knob not to grab it so I wouldn’t get burnt and it wasn’t hot so I open the door...and it was just black smoke where you couldn’t see anything.”
The first thing that came to his mind was to save Bella.
“My first instinct was to get my dog out, I mean she’s like my child as anybody else would,” Van Camp said.
He grabbed Bella and dropped her over the balcony right before jumping down himself. A neighbor caught the dog but out of fear, wriggled out of their arms and ran off.
“As soon as the guy said I don’t know where your dog went I stood up and I just ran after her because I saw her and ran for a solid 45 mins,” Van Camp said.
After almost an hour of chasing her, Van Camp said he realized how much pain he was in and went to the hospital to be treated for a severe lumbar fracture and 1st and 2nd degree burns.
His beloved pup was still at the top of his mind.
“Once I got home, I just continued on looking for my dog and I just still have been looking for her day in and day out,” Van Camp said. “It just hurts. She means a lot to me. I basically got her when she was a puppy.”
Van Camp now feels lost and pleading for help to bring Bella home.
“Shout out to the dude who dragged me away from the fire as I was right there I mean he helped me but I wish he would’ve just hanged onto my dog and not worried about me so much,” Van Camp said. “I lost everything and anything you guys can donate will help. I was in the process of getting a house and now I’m completely lost and I have nothing.”
The cause of the fire still hasn’t been released and is under investigation at this time.
Bella is still missing. If you’re looking to lend a hand with the search, she is described as a German Shepard mix that’s around 60 pounds with “fox-like” tail, and was last wearing a pink collar. She usually responds if you call her name. If you see Bella, you are asked to reach out to Prosper Apartments or reach out to Van Camp.
If you are wanting to make a donation to help Van Camp get back on his feet, you can do so by clicking here, or you through his Cashapp account at $AshtonVanCamp.