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Kid and Reecon: Meet the dogs who recovered victims of the Old Montreal fire

It was a gruelling few weeks for rescuers following last month's fire in Old Montreal, which killed seven and injured nine.

Among those who worked to retrieve the victims' bodies were two special heroes: rescue dogs Kid and Reecon.

Using their sharp senses and extensive training, the dogs helped comb through the rubble of the building on Place D'Youville.

"He will do anything to make you satisfied," said Kid's owner Guy Lapointe about his beloved border collie.

It's a quality that fits perfectly with Lapointe's world. He's a former RCMP officer who, for the past 30 years, has worked with Quebec's Search and Rescue program.

"We have dogs that are trained for live victims, and we have dogs that are trained for dead victims," Lapointe explained. "My dog is what we call crossed-trained, so he can find both."

If Kid finds a survivor, he's trained to bark six times. If he finds a body, he lays down next to it.

Last month, Lapointe got a call from firefighters saying his help was needed in Old Montreal.

Lapointe called his friend, Shelley Harris, and her German Sheppard Reecon, for backup.

"At the time, I was driving somewhere else, so I pulled off the side of the road," Harris recalled. "He said, 'can you come?' and I said, 'absolutely.'"

Reecon (left) and Kid (right) are rescue dogs who helped recover 7 bodies from the ruins of a fire in Old Montreal in March 2023. (Photos courtesy of Guy Lapointe and Shelley Harris)

The work is difficult, both physically and emotionally. As professional as Harris and Lapointe are, the job sometimes gets to them.

"I just said, 'Reecon, let's get in there and let's find these people for these families,'" said Harris.

The team was lowered into the site with a crane. Lapointe said the building's interior was a dark mess and he could barely see anything.

"The roof collapsed, and it went down to the third floor, the second and all the way to the basement. So the pile of debris was terrible, so only the dogs could find the victims."

It took a few days, but they did. With the help of Reecon and Kid, the final three victims were pulled from the ashes last week.

The seven victims of the fire were An Wu, 31, Saniya Khan, 31, Dania Zafar, 31, Camille Maheux, 76, Walid Belkahla, 18, Nathan Sears, 35, and Charlie Lacroix, 18.

"We're really, really proud of what we did with the dogs. If the dogs hadn't been there, it would have lasted weeks or months," said Lapointe.

The Montreal fire department publicly thanked the search and rescue team for their efforts.

"Mr. Guy Lapointe and his dog Kid, and Mrs. Shelley Harris and her dog Reecon -- we'd like to thank them for the important support in this search," fire chief Martin Guilbeault told the press.

For now, the dogs and their owners can go back to normal life. And though they always hope there won't be a next time, if there is, they're ready.

"My mom always says, 'why did you get into something like this?' And I just say, 'it's just something that I felt I need to do,'" said Harris. "Once you're in there, you're just so happy that you're able to bring closure to those families and friends." Top Stories

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