A San Clemente couple and their two dogs managed to escape a burning home following a series of explosions Thursday morning.
Diane Alajoki said she was up at about 3 a.m. packing for a family trip when she felt the first in a series of explosions rock her home in the 100 block of Avenida Dolores.
“I didn’t know. I thought a plane landed on the house … I’ve never been that close to so much fire,” Alajoki said.
Alajoki and her husband tried to get out through the front door, but ran into too much fire and decided to go out the back, she said.
The couple escaped the flames with their two dogs, but one of the dogs -- a lab named “Coco” -- ran off once they were outside, Alajoki said.
Hours later, Coco would be spotted in the neighborhood and reunited the couple.
Arriving firefighters went into a defensive mode as flames engulfed the home, Orange County Fire Authority spokesman Larry Kurtz said.
Investigators believe the initial explosion took place in the garage area of the home.
Firefighters found a ruptured gas line, but have not yet determine if it was the cause of the fire.
It takes some time to determine the exact cause because investigators want to be accurate, Kurtz said. “Obviously something blew the garage door completely across the street.”
Crews have “pinched off the gas line” so investigators can continue their work, Kurtz said.
Two cars and a neighboring home, which has been yellow-tagged, were also damaged in the fire.
In the wake of the Alajoki’s home being destroyed, a GoFundMe page was set up to help with their costs.
KTLA's Geoff Peters contributed to this report.