Sheriff: Mastiff mauled, killed Big Rock woman

Firefighter found dead after apparent attack

  • Dawn Brown

    Dawn Brown

Updated 11/15/2012 2:54 PM

A 44-year-old firefighter found dead in her Big Rock home this week was attacked and killed by her male adult mastiff, one of three dogs in her home, authorities said Wednesday.

Rescue crews were called Monday afternoon to the home of Dawn Brown. Brown, a veteran firefighter/paramedic at the Bristol Kendall Fire Protection District in Yorkville, was found by her husband in the basement of the home at about 4:15 p.m. Monday, Kane County sheriff's department spokesman Pat Gengler said.


Brown was home alone at the time and died of wounds during an attack by the mastiff, Gengler said.

Gengler said an autopsy concluded that Brown died from injuries sustained from her mastiff, which weighed an estimated 130 to 140 pounds. The dog, and two others -- a boxer and a pit bull mixed breed -- had been turned over to the Kane County Animal Control Department for an evaluation.

Gengler said members of the Big Rock Fire Protection District, where Brown also was a part-time firefighter, responded to her home.

"Everybody is shocked that this happened. Nobody saw this coming," Gengler said, noting that authorities don't know what may have prompted the attack. "It was very emotional. It was a very difficult scene for emergency responders. The firefighters did a phenomenal job."

Bristol Kendall Fire Protection District Chief Michael Hitzemann could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday, but the fire district posted a photo of Brown on its Facebook page earlier in the week informing people of her passing.

On the page, a woman named Gina Nance commended Brown for her response to a May house fire.

"As awful as everything was, I will never forget her empathy, compassion, and gentle tone. She was a godsend, and I never had the opportunity to personally thank her. She will be deeply missed. My condolences to her family at this time," Nance wrote.

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