“When we got there the boat was pretty much engulfed, and there were people standing on the dock yelling that there was a dog on board,” Ruggles told The Dodo. “At first I couldn’t see it, but then I caught a glimpse of this dog kind of hunkered in the corner up on the deck … basically trying to get away from the flames that were coming up on him.”
The officers discussed how to best reach the pet — it was too dangerous to access the dog by the dock due to the flames, so the only other option was by sea. Though he was prepared to hop into the water and swim to the boat, Ruggles suddenly got a better idea.
Spotting a small rowboat tied to the dock, Ruggles hopped in and started paddling toward the cloud of billowing smoke — all of which was captured by his body cam. “I was standing there on the dock, and I looked down and I just kind of took the opportunity to do it,” Ruggles added.