(WSOCTV.com)

'Hero' volunteer firefighter, 72, saves little girl from horrific dog attack

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“I have stitches everywhere and staples in my head,” Haiden Prevatte told WSOC-TV.

As soon as David Covington saw the dogs attack Haiden, the 72-year-old volunteer firefighter jumped out of his car and grabbed a stick on the side of the road.

Two pit bulls attacked the first-grader in Rockingham on Wednesday before the school bus even drove away.

“He bit me and shook me around,” she said.

“First, one came at me and I swung at him,” Covington said. “The other dog was still attacking the girl, so I hit him a couple times. He backed off. She started up the bus, and he pulled her back down and continued to attack her.”

Covington eventually was successful in stopping the dogs. The school bus driver pulled Haiden back onto the bus while Covington called 911.

“He was very nice helping me,” Haiden said of Covington.

“I would be thanking them the rest of my life and that still wouldn’t be enough,” the girl’s mother, Candas Prevatte, said.

Prevatte was getting her 5-month-old baby ready to head to the bus stop when a man came to her door and told her what had just happened.

“My heart was in a million pieces. First thing I thought was the worst,” Candas said.

Paramedics rushed Haiden to a Richmond County hospital and she was airlifted to a hospital in Chapel Hill.

“It was so traumatizing and that was before I even saw her,” Candas said. “After I saw her, my whole world shattered. I just knew I was about to lose her.”

Haiden suffered several bite marks, a punctured lung and two broken ribs. She has five staples in her head and what her mother said was too many stitches to count.

Thanks to Covington, Haiden will make a full recovery.

When WSOC-TV asked Covington what he thinks about people calling him a hero, he replied, “That’s not the case as far as being a hero, just right place at the right time.”

Deputies said the two dogs are at animal control and will be put down after a 10-day observation for rabies.

The owner was cited for violating a county ordinance for not having one of the dogs vaccinated and allowing the dogs to run off her property, according to deputies.

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