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July 15 is National Pet Fire Safety Day

Category: News

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I Swear Officer, I Don’t Smoke!

Written by: Lt. Robert Veronesi MCFRS
June 24th, 2017

With Pet Fire Safety Day now upon us, a reminder of overlooked dangers is needed. Pets are often considered members of a family.They travel with us, sleep with us, and are the guardians of a household. The “guardians of a household” views are where our pets often find themselves in the most danger. Pets tend to walk in the shadows and families often forget to put away items or hide dangerous objects that may cause our non-human family members harm.

Recently, there was a fire in a local jurisdiction that had a suspicious cause. As is standard procedure, fire investigators began searching for the origin of the fire. They quickly narrowed in on an “odd” burn pattern that reminded them of a cigarette burn. The investigators questioned the homeowner and repeatedly asked him where his smoking materials were. Where was his lighter? Matches? The frustrated owner repeatedly responded that he does not smoke and keeps no matches or lighters in his household.

The investigation proceeded for a few hours with the investigators and homeowner growing increasingly agitated with one another. The case was solved when the couch was removed, and a conclusive piece of evidence was found. The owner was truthful when he stated he did not smoke cigarettes, but left out the information regarding vaping The investigators had discovered a battery pack from an e-cigarette/vaping device. Only this battery pack came with a custom design, hundreds of teeth marks from the family’s black lab, Jake.

Come to find out; Jake had discovered the battery pack on the kitchen table while the family was at work. Jake had taken the battery pack and chewed on it for a while, become bored with his new toy and left it tucked under the living room couch. Unbeknownst to Jake, the casing was damaged, and the battery pack was overheating. The battery pack eventually caught the couch on fire and proceeded to ignite the rest of the living room.

Have no fear; this story ends with a relatively happy ending. Jake did suffer some minor burns to his pads, but firefighters were able to make a rapid entry, rescue Jake, and extinguish the fire with only moderate damage being done to the living room and a few pieces of furniture.

This story should serve as a reminder that sometimes our pets need to be protected from themselves. As pet parents, we need to do a better job of putting away dangerous items. Remove cords from a pet's reach; put away toxic or hazardous items that may be mistaken as food or play toys, and make a routine of inspecting your house for items or scenarios that may be dangerous. Don’t forget to grab a Pet Lives Here sticker from your local pet store. This sticker was the primary reason Jake was quickly found and rescued.

Take a second before you leave for the day and make sure your family pets are protected; they rely on us more than we think!