Bristol-Kendall Fire Protection District firefighter killed in dog attack

November 14, 2012 (BIG ROCK, Ill.)

On Monday afternoon 44-year-old Dawn Brown's husband returned home from work and found her unresponsive at the bottom of the stairs. "He tried first aid right away but it was already evident that she was deceased when he got there," said Lt. Pat Gengler of the Kane County Sheriff's Office.

Brown, a full-time firefighter and paramedic for the Bristol-Kendall Fire Protection District and a part-time paramedic for the Big Rock Fire Protection District, and her husband had three dogs, a pit bull mix, a boxer, and a large mastiff that the couple had just taken in from a relative last week. Apparently that family member no longer wanted the animal because it was so big and she didn't want it around her small children.

Brown's colleagues at the Big Rock Fire Department said Dawn had the mastiff with her at work last Friday and it seemed perfectly docile.

But investigators say wounds on Brown's body match up with the mastiff. "The injuries were identified as coming from the mastiff. He was quite a bit bigger than the other dogs. I saw the dog, that dog was easily big enough to overpower a person. He was a very big, very large dog," Lt. Gengler said.

The paramedics who responded to Brown's home were her colleagues at the Big Rock Fire Department. The incident has been a shock to all of them.

"It's horrible. For something like that to happen to Dawn, it's hard for us to believe because she was such a good person to animals and to people," said Chief Michael Kalina, Bristol-Kendall Fire Protection District.

Dawn will be missed not only be her colleagues, but also by the people she cared for. "Dawn was unique because she was one of those that connected with all of their patients and you can't say that about every paramedic. She was one of those that feel the empathy that could feel the pain that they were going through," Kalina said.

Sheriff's officials say Kane County Animal Control has taken custody of all three dogs.

Big Rock is about 60 miles west of downtown Chicago.

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