‘Best dog in the world’ killed while saving girl from fire, Corpus Christi family says

Family lost a total of seven dogs in fire

A pit bull named Ollie is being remembered as “the best dog in the world” after he died while saving a 15-year-old girl during a fire at a Corpus Christi home.

The family told KRIS that their home caught fire on New Year’s Eve, as people were popping fireworks.

At around 11:30 p.m., Jennifer Oleniczak said that’s when they heard loud banging on their doors and walls.

“So I shook him (my husband) and woke him up. He had put earplugs in for the fireworks. So he didn’t even hear the door and he was like ‘what!’” Oleniczak said.

Their neighbors alerted them to the fire, but by then, the deck and stairs were completely in flames.

Oleniczak said as their family evacuated, she grabbed her Shih Tzu and her six puppies.

“I started to run with them outside but I tripped and so I broke my fall. And so I started throwing the puppies out onto the patio and my husband was already off the deck so he was already grabbing the puppies and throwing them off,” Oleniczak said.

She added that she saw the last two puppies catch fire as the flames grew.

“...I screamed at my husband. I just yelled ‘oh God save me.’ And all of a sudden the fire just fell and I jumped,” Oleniczak said.

When the family was outside, they started to panic as they searched for Ollie.

Oleniczak’s 15-year-old daughter Jaylee, said Ollie went to her bedroom and woke her up during the chaos.

The following day they searched around the home, on social media and at shelters for Ollie. On Monday, Oleniczak’s husband returned to the home and found Ollie inside.

“And my husband went in and he found him right at my daughter’s bedside. At the foot of her bed like he collapsed from the smoke inhalation. And I just want to give him a big hug because had he not gone in there, Jaylee would have died,” Oleniczak said.

“He was my hero, he saved my daughter’s life. He was the best dog in the world.”

In total, the family lost seven dogs. Four of their dogs survived.

The fire is still under investigation, KRIS reported.

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About the Author

Rebecca Salinas is an award-winning digital journalist who joined KSAT in 2019. She reports on a variety of topics for KSAT 12 News.

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