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Man Responding to Bark of Normally Quiet Dogs, Saves Family From Fire

Barking Dogs Save a Kentwood, Michigan Family From Fire

The Grand Rapids Press - Written by Theresa D. Mcclellan - October 31, 2004

Fire officials say an unattended candle sparked the blaze at 50 Ridgewood St. SE. The two adults and five children escaped without injuries after the father was awakened by their barking dogs and got everyone out safely.

"They were quite fortunate the dogs woke them up, but the house is a total loss," Kentwood Deputy Fire Chief Mark Smith said.

The dogs died in the 5:49 a.m. blaze, he said.

The father, whose name was not released, got his wife and infant out of the house before returning to get the other children, who were sleeping downstairs, fire officials said.

American Red Cross workers were on the scene Saturday to assist the family, providing afghans, teddy bears and comfort kits containing everyday essentials.

It was not clear where the family would live, although the Red Cross usually helps fire victims stay at a hotel.

The mother went to bed about 1 a.m. and left a candle burning on a living-room table, Smith said. The father joined her after locking up the home, apparently unaware a candle was burning.

"It was setting on a table, burned down and was sitting on a holder not designed for heat," Smith said. "The candle holder cracked, gets onto the window treatments, and it's gone."

Flames were so intense, it obliterated the living room. "You can't tell it's a living room," Smith said.

When firefighters arrived, flames were through the roof, he said.

Smith estimated damage to the home and contents to be about $150,000.

This page is part of the General News,
which is a component of the Barking Dog News and