DANIA BEACH (CBSMiami) — A Dania Beach neighborhood is mourning the loss of a man who died trying to save his dogs from a fire in his mobile home.
Jerry Chapman was inside his home with his two dogs, Peanut and Precious, when it caught on fire on Friday, April 18th.
Chapman managed to get out alive but went back inside to save his two dogs, who neighbors said, were Chapman’s pride and joy.
“A good man, gone too soon,” said close friend Clint Parks. “Those dogs were their babies, ya know. So a lot of people say ‘why would somebody do that?’ You know in my opinion, we never know what we will do under a stressed situation. I have two dogs too and would I do that? Probably.”
Chapman’s wife was at work at the time of the fire, according to friends.
“They never had any children. They had two dogs and that’s why he went back in to get his babies,” said Fred Parks, a close friend who broke down and cried when he recalled the day his good friend died.
The mobile home was destroyed by the fire. There is nothing left except melted, mangled metal and bittersweet memories.
“I’ve known Jerry since he was born. I was at the hospital when he was born. Great guy who would do anything for anybody,” said Clint Parks. “He was a hard worker and very devoted to his family, his wife mostly.”
As for the dogs, friends said Chapman managed to get Princess out a window but she hasn’t been found. Peanut didn’t make it. She was found underneath a bed.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.