Bay Area News Group
FREMONT -- A family of five escaped with their lives Monday morning after a one-alarm fire spread through their home, but two of their pets perished, a Fremont Fire Department battalion chief said.
The blaze started around 4:30 a.m. at the single-story house in the 35000 block of Woodbridge Place, Battalion Chief Rich Dickinson said. Crews arrived to find smoke and flames coming from the garage, and the fire eventually moved to the attic.
The family was out of the home by the time firefighters arrived. Two Chihuahuas died in the blaze, but a third was rescued, Dickinson said.
Fire officials have not determined what sparked the blaze, but neighbor Deborah Clarett, who lives across the street, said she heard an explosion before the fire broke out.
Marta Olvera, who said she's rented the four-bedroom home for six years, said she awoke to the smell of smoke and got up to investigate. She said she went into the laundry room, opened the door and smoke billowed out so she slammed the door and alerted her two daughters, ages 14 and 16, her aunt and her mother, who uses a walker, to flee the home.
Olvera's husband, Lucio Villalobos, was out delivering newspapers when the blaze broke out.
Olvera said that the home has smoke alarms but that it appears they did not sound.
Two cars in the driveway were destroyed. An adjacent building was threatened, but crews prevented the fire from spreading to it. That building did have some exterior smoke damage, he said.
Fire crews needed about 40 minutes to bring the blaze under control, Dickinson said. The blaze is under investigation. Crews remained there past 7 a.m. Monday to monitor for hot spots and continue cleaning up.
Dickinson did not give a damage estimate, nor did he say what the family would do for temporary housing.
Laura Oda contributed to this report. Contact Rick Hurd at 925-945-4789 and follow him at Twitter.com/3rdERH.