1. News

Clover the puppy survived a fire. Now she's a firefighter. Sort of.

Clover was rescued from a fire in Alabama. Now the 4-month old black-and-white cur hound mix has joined the Madeira Beach Fire Department. Clover walks down the isle of the commission chamber on Tuesday and was sworn in as the fire station's dog by Fire Chief Derryl O'Neal at Madeira Beach City Hall. [DIRK SHADD | Times]
Published Apr. 11, 2018

MADEIRA BEACH — Fire Chief Derryl O'Neal called upon his new hires to approach the City Commission and be sworn in Tuesday evening.

First he called two firefighter/paramedics forward. Jared Schenofsky had worked at Pinellas Park. Tom McClave used to work at Seminole.

Then he called on the Madeira Beach Fire Department's cutest acquisition:

Clover, a 4-month-old black and white cur hound mix.

Suncoast Animal League volunteer Karey Burek took in Clover in late February. The puppy had been trapped in a shed fire in Alabama caused by a propane heater.

She, her mom and six siblings crawled out, but Clover suffered severe burns to her paws, chest, head and ears.

Clover was just a few weeks old and 7 pounds at the time of the fire. Then she was brought to the Suncoast Animal League in Palm Harbor.

"It's been amazing to see her flourish," Burek said.

The league shared updates about her recovery. Soon Clover grew a loyal fan base rooting for her recovery.

The posts also caught the attention of a few Madeira Beach Fire Department officers, who had been thinking about adopting a dog for the fire station.

They invited Clover to visit, and after all parties involved — including Clover and Madeira Beach city officials — agreed to the idea, she was officially invited to join the station. Clover has been living there for the past week.

She also emerged as the top candidate for the job after a rigorous selection process.

"We interviewed several pets before we met Clover," O'Neal told commissioners. "After seeing her personality, we knew she was the right choice."

She will be the station's first mascot and assist in educational activities such as teaching kids about how to stop, drop and roll.

"Clover will have a lot of responsibilities now," Suncoast Animal League executive director Rick Chaboudy said. "It's a unique and pretty exciting opportunity."

O'Neal, however, said that Clover would not be allowed to attend collective bargaining sessions or partake in union negotiations.

Contact Divya Kumar at Follow @divyadivyadivya.


  1. First page of school data report Times staff
    Find your school in these reports.
  2. Colleen Beaudoin is selected Pasco County School Board chairwoman for 2020, and Allen Altman is named vice chairman. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff
    Altman chosen as vice chairman.
  3. Melissa Snively and Steve Cona III are the new chair and vice chair of the Hillsborough County School Board. MARLENE   |  Times staff
    Steve Cona III is vice chair.
  4. The David A. Straz Jr Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa was one of several buildings named for the philanthropist and banker. [DENNIS JOYCE   |   Times] DENNIS JOYCE  |  Tampa Bay Times (2018)
    The David A. Straz Jr Foundation donated more than $33 million to dozens of organizations in nearly 20 years
  5. Port Tampa Bay president and CEO Paul Anderson. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times (2017)]
    Port commissioners approved the raise after a year with milestone achievements on several fronts.
  6. United States Air Force veteran Daniel Carmichael, of Inverness, shares his opinion before a meeting of the Board of County Commissioners of Citrus County on Tuesday, November 19, 2019, at the Citrus County Courthouse in Inverness, where the Citrus County Commission is expected to render a decision on whether to get digital subscriptions for the New York Times for all 70,000 of the county library cardholders. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  TImes
    After two hours of debate, a motion to move forward with digital subscriptions for library cardholders fails 3-2.
  7. A sinkhole opened up beneath a phosphogypsum stack at Mosaic's Mulberry plant in 2016, draining 215 million gallons of waste into the aquifer below. Neither the company nor the state Department of Environmental Protection notified the public until a television report revealed what happened. [JIM DAMASKE   |   Times (2016)]
    Problem at Bartow plant began in October, but public was given no notice.
  8. In December 2017, two masked motorcycle gang members were accused of assassinating Paul Anderson, 44,  president of the Cross Bayou chapter of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club while his pickup was stopped at a traffic light in Pasco County. [Pasco County Sheriffs Office]
    Evidence from the federal trial of two members of the 69′ers Motorcycle Club offers a rare glimpse of the world of outlaw biker gangs.
  9. David Straz and his wife Catherine at Karamu, the annual black-tie gala at ZooTampa in April. AMY SCHERZER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The future of Straz’s foundation remained unclear Tuesday. Meanwhile, police say Straz died of natural causes at a Citrus County waterfront home.
  10. David Straz Jr. passed away this week at age 77. JAMES BORCHUCK  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The retired banker supported causes from the arts to the zoo. Here’s a sampling of reaction to his death.