Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Rescuing the Rescuer Man Faces Long Recovery from Burn Wounds after Trying to Save Brother's Dog

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Rescuing the Rescuer Man Faces Long Recovery from Burn Wounds after Trying to Save Brother's Dog

Article excerpt

The four Torchio brothers were together, as they often are, hiking and exploring in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon. Among them, they own five dogs that they call "the pack." On the April 1 trip, the Erie natives were accompanied by a Brittany named Remnar and George, a beagle.

When Remnar fell into a geothermal hot spring boiling from the earth, Brent Torchio, 23, "instantly and without regard for his own safety, jumped in to save his friend's life," Christian Torchio, 33, said in a phone interview.

The dog was completely submerged. Brent, a recent Penn State University graduate, went waist-deep into water that his brothers think was at least 170 degrees. Philip Torchio, 30, went into the water up to his shins.

"Brent shoved the dog out of the water to us," Christian said. Then he, Philip and Andrew, 32, who is Remnar's owner, pulled their younger brother out of the water. What came next was a horrific 2-hour drive through the northern Nevada desert to get medical care.

Brent Torchio has second- and third-degree burns on more than 20 percent of his body. Remnar was much worse, scalded all over her body. Her eyes were burned and her nose was burned off.

"We think Remnar swallowed the boiling water," Christian said.

The dog was treated by an emergency veterinarian in Lakeview, Ore., and then by another vet in Bend, Ore.

"We got her home. She made it through the night," he said, but she died at 1:30 p.m. the next day. "We think her kidneys shut down."

"She was with her family and in comfort when she passed. ... She was able to say goodbye before being peacefully laid to rest under her favorite shaded tree," it says in the tribute written by the three older brothers.

Brent was treated at Lake District Hospital in Lakeview, then transferred to St. Charles Medical Center in Bend, the town where the three oldest brothers live and work. Brent, a graduate student, had been visiting them on spring break.

Due to the severity of his injuries, Brent was transported to the Legacy Oregon Burn Center in Portland. He faces skin grafts and a long recovery that will cause him to miss his third-quarter classes at Life West Chiropractic College in Hayward, Calif. …

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