CUYAHOGA FALLS -- A kitchen fire on East Portage Trail June 1 may have been caused by a hungry house pet, a city fire official said.
No one was injured in the house fire that started in the kitchen and filled the structure with smoke. City Fire Marshal Tim Mier thinks a dog who lived there may have bumped into the stove burner and turned it on.
The fire department responded at 8:44 p.m. June 1 to the building fire in the 500 block of East Portage Trail. Upon arrival, crews saw heavy smoke coming from the front door and beginning to come out of the roof vents, according to the fire report.
Firefighters found one of the residents who had unsuccessfully tried to crawl under heat and smoke to rescue the three dogs that live there. Fire Chief Paul Moledor said no one was home when the blaze started, but the resident had returned to find it on fire and tried to go in to save the animals.
The occupant came back out of the house without the pet, Moledor said, adding the dogs had already gotten out of the burning house on their own and were safe. The chief said no residents or firefighters were hurt. The last unit cleared the scene at 11:39 p.m., the report said.
The fire started in the kitchen, the report said, and estimated losses were $10,000 on the property and $10,000 on the contents. An investigation is ongoing by the city fire marshal, Moledor said.
Mier said on June 5 he determined through his investigation that the stove was unintentionally left on or accidentally turned on.
The house is home to a man and his wife and their four children, according to Mier, who said he learned from talking to them they cooked a meal on the stove where leftovers remained after they were finished eating.
After dinner, the family left the house for about 15 minutes, he said. Before leaving, he said, a family member placed the kitchen's garbage can on top of the stove to deter the dogs from getting into it.
Mier said speculation leads him to believe a burner on the stove was accidentally bumped into the "on" position either by a person moving the trash can or a pet trying to get at the garbage or leftovers.
"I've seen this several times," Mier said. "The animals get up to try to get something on the stove when food is left there and they bump the burner on."
Mier said the family has had to temporarily relocate since the fire. He said they initially declined help from the Red Cross saying they were going to stay with relatives.