Northwest Fresno House Fire Kills 11 Dogs

January 9, 2009 6:02:02 PM PST
Eleven dogs are believed to be dead after a house fire that destroyed a Northwest Fresno home.It happened just after 1:00 p.m. on Herndon just west of Blackstone. The resident told Action News he heard a loud explosion seconds before the home was engulfed in flames.

You can see the house is basically a blackened frame. Inside the washroom, 11 dogs were being kept from the cold, including nine puppies. They are presumed to be dead.

"We heard a big pop, like pow like that," said Robert Eldridge.

Seconds after Robert Eldridge heard the explosion he says the fire spread so fast, he didn't have time to save anything except for one dog.

"My motorcycle was inside there all my dads tools everything was in there and everything's gone. I just lost a car, everything I own. All my clothes, everything, I gotta start scratch now," said Eldridge.

In a room right next to where the fire originated were nine newborn pit bull puppies one of them seen here days ago with it's mother. A Chihuahua named cocoa is also believed to be dead.

"My dogs, everything burned, everything."

"I would tell my dog cocoa, go to mama, and he would go to my old lady and stuff like that and she'll say go to daddy and he'll go to me. That was a part of me. I don't care about nothing in the house but the animals."

Firefighters say putting the fire out got risky. PG&E crews were called out to disconnect service after a pole fell with live wires.

Chuck Tobias from the Fresno Fire Department said, "We had an electrical line that supplied the home from the pole had dropped from the house and was live in the backyard arching and popping."

Residents say the home has had power problems in recent months. They say their electrical box was replaced a few months ago after catching fire several times. They tell Action News they believe Friday's fire started when their water heater blew up.

The home is a complete loss. What little wasn't burned has water and smoke damage. Red Cross workers are helping the couple find a temporary place to stay. Clearly moving on without their dogs seems to be the biggest challenge.

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