Socs the dog saves man's life in middle of the night fire

Life saved, home, belongings lost
An account to assist Shelby County resident Clifford Woodhatch in recuperating from a fire that destroyed the RV and contents has been set up at Shelby Savings Bank in his name.

For Clifford Woodhatch the phrase that “dog is man's best friend” took on a much deeper meaning recently.

Woodhatch said he owes the fact he is alive today to his canine companion “Socs.” He was sound asleep in his recreation vehicle early the morning of Dec. 14 when about 40 pounds of canine love jumped on his chest.

“The RV was on fire and filled with smoke,” Woodhatch said. The plug from a space heater apparently caught fire as he saw flames going up with wall from the plug receptacle.

“If it wasn't for Socs, I wouldn't be here talking to you today,” Woodhatch said Monday. He figures he would have died of smoke inhalation before he would have been woken up  by the fire or heat.

The U.S. Army veteran said he had been to the VA medical facility in Lufkin the day before and had taken medication they had prescribed that put him into a deep sleep.

“When it's cold outside I let Socs sleep inside,” Woodhatch said. “If he hadn't been in the RV I would have been trapped.”

For immediate needs he is staying with an aunt who lives down the road from him off the highway between Center and San Augustine. While Woodhatch was able to salvage a few personal items from the RV, the trailer itself and most contents were destroyed.

He said on the $718 a month retirement he lives on, Woodhatch is not sure how he will be able to afford another place to call his own. An account has been set up to aid him on getting back on his feet at Shelby Savings Bank in Center.

Anyone who would like to help out may make a deposit to an account in his name and account number 0181433300, he said. Woodhatch also said his church family at Neuville Baptist Church has been helpful in making sure his basic needs were being taken care of.

“I don't know where I'd be without my faith in God and support of my church,” he said. “That gives me hope for tomorrow.”

The Light and Champion

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Center TX 75935
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