Family Says Pet Dog Helped Them Safely Escape Hacienda Heights House Fire

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A family in Hacienda Heights says one of their pet dogs helped them escape a fire that broke out at their home early Thursday morning.

Firefighters were dispatched to the house located in the 1500 block of Farmstead Avenue just after midnight, discovering the home fully engulfed in flames, authorities said. A couple and their son were able to escape through a window, along with their two dogs.

Chewbacca is held by his owner after alerting his family to a fire in their Hacienda Heights house on April 4, 2019. (Credit: OC Hawk)
Chewbacca is held by his owner after alerting his family to a fire in their Hacienda Heights house on April 4, 2019. (Credit: OC Hawk)

No injuries were reported.

And although the fire took just 15 minutes to knock down, officials said it could have left behind serious devastation.

“They were very, very fortunate,” said Christopher Fenner of the Los Angeles County Fire Department. “With the amount of fire … they were very lucky to get out.”

But the family says it was their dog Chewbacca who drew their attention to the blaze, barking to waken them while they were asleep in bed.

“He stopped at the door and was barking his little head off, and then I smelled some smoke,” said Alicia Hernandez.

Hernandez said the smoke quickly grew heavier before they managed to get out.

Investigators believe a malfunctioning power strip was the cause of the blaze, authorities said. Meanwhile, Hernandez said the family recently bought new smoke alarms that had not yet been installed.

Red Cross officials are currently providing the family with housing assistance.

A GoFundMe page was set up to raise funds to help the family after their home was destroyed in the fire.

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