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House fire extinguished, pets okay

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

A house fire that occurred the morning of Wednesday, Dec. 17, ended on a high note when all of the family's animals were removed from the singlewide mobile home without injury. "The firemen who rescued them incurred bites and scratches, but that's to be expected," said Bandera County Fire Marshal John Stith.
The fire was called in to emergency dispatch at 8:30 am when a fire detector alerted the family's daughter that something was amiss. "She was sleeping in the bedroom and woke up to find the home, located on Chipman Lane, filled with smoke," Stith said. "She exited the building without injury."
However, the woman told responding deputies with the sheriff's department that the family's animals were still inside the structure. According to Stith, deputies attempted to locate the animals, but despite best efforts, were unsuccessful. "During their search, the deputies closed interior doors, preventing additional oxygen from entering the house. This helped stop the spread of the fire," Stith explained.
He estimated about $15,000 damage had occurred, mostly in the kitchen area, where the fire originated. "The rest of the home suffered extensive smoke damage," he added. He noted that the fire was probably ignited by something left on the stove after another occupant had left the house earlier.
After firefighters from Bandera, Medina and Lake Shore VFDs had the fire under control, they entered the house to search for the trapped animals, two cats and a dog. "They eventually found them on opposite ends of the home. The cats had clawed their way through a box spring," Stith said. The family was extremely gratified that their pets had been saved.
Stith praised both the deputies and firefighters for their excellent response and actions. "This was a good effort by everyone," he said. "We are also grateful that smoke detectors were installed in the home. Without an early warning, this incident might have been disastrous. This just underscores the importance of having working smoke detectors."
Staff at the Flying L Guest Ranch on Highway 173 South has offered the family accommodations until other arrangements can be made. "We're very grateful for the generosity of the folks at the Flying L. This will help the family out," Stith said. "Something like this is bad at any time, but particularly so when it occurs the week before Christmas."