Firefighters had to rescue one of four Delta family members from a second-floor bathroom as their dog, which had bitten all four, ran loose inside the home.

The animal was later put down by state troopers.

The four family members escaped to the second floor of their home in the 800 block of Main Street after their pit bull became aggressive and bit all four of them, Sgt. Robert Kelly said.

Medics and firefighters arrived on the scene before police but couldn't go into the house because of the dog, said Jeff Petty, assistant chief of Delta-Cardiff Fire Co.

"It was difficult to stand there and know people need help but you can't walk in there to help," Petty said.

Instead of going through the front door of the house, firefighters and medics used a ladder truck to climb through a second-floor window to rescue one of the victims.

The rescue: When Petty arrived at the home, a woman who had locked herself in a second-floor front bedroom with two other family members called down from the window, saying the dog was somewhere in the house and that a girl had locked herself in a second-floor bathroom.

Petty said he called in a ladder truck from nearby Whiteford, Md., and used a ground ladder to rescue the girl.

Firefighters went into the bathroom and helped the girl down the ladder to waiting medics, he said.

Crews were about to raise the truck's main ladder to the bedroom window when police arrived.

"We were just waiting to get EMS up to the second floor to start treating the victims," Petty said. "Depending on the severity, we were ready to extricate them using the ladder truck."

Troopers went inside the home and found the dog that had become aggressive. The troopers had to shoot and kill the animal when it tried to attack them, Kelly said.

To safety: Medics were then able to get to the three remaining family members and treat them, Petty said.

All four family members were taken to York Hospital for treatment. No one else was injured.

The incident was a very dangerous situation, Petty said, and one he never dealt with before.

If medics and firefighters had gone into the house through the front door, the dog very well could have attacked them, meaning the rescuers themselves would have to be rescued.

The unusual circumstances meant Petty had to think outside the box to get to those who needed help.

"It's one of those calls where you have to open your mind and think on the fly," he said.

-- Staff writer Liz Evans Scolforo contributed to this report. Reach her at levans@yorkdispatch.com; reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.