Two dogs died Tuesday evening in an east Santa Rosa house fire that authorities suspect was started by a child’s hoverboard toy, which had been plugged into a wall to charge the batteries.
Hoverboards have drawn scrutiny nationwide for their apparent propensity to catch fire. But Tuesday’s blaze at a home in the 2100 block of East Foothill Drive is the first reported instance in Sonoma County, according to Santa Rosa Fire Battalion Chief Mark Basque.
The fire broke out at about 5 p.m. Tuesday in a girl’s bedroom where the hoverboard was plugged into the wall, Basque said.
“The flames were just raging out the window,” said Ashley Haskins, who lives in the neighborhood of older homes at the base of Montecito Heights, near the Town and Country shopping plaza.
Smoke quickly filled the 2,800-square-foot home, which was unoccupied except for the two dogs, a labradoodle and a Boston terrier. Haskins said her husband, Dean, and another neighbor attempted to gain access through a locked sliding glass door. But they could not get inside.
Firefighters found the dogs in the living room and brought them outside onto the front lawn, where efforts to revive the animals were not successful.
A visibly distraught man who later identified himself as the homeowner arrived with a young girl in tow after yellow tarps had been placed over the dogs.
Property records show the home is owned by David Carpenter.
The man said he usually takes the dogs with him when he picks his daughter up from soccer.
“I didn’t do that this time,” he said.
He and other family members were consoled by neighbors as a Sonoma County animal control officer retrieved the pets.
Basque said the dogs died of apparent smoke inhalation.
He said further investigation will be required to determine whether the hoverboard, the charger, the batteries or a combination of all three are responsible for sparking the blaze.
“By all indications, it looks like it was plugged in and charged for the next use,” he said.
He did not immediately know the hoverboard’s make and model.
A hoverboard purchased as a Christmas gift caught fire Dec. 24 at a home in Ukiah while it was charging. A police officer extinguished the flaming toy.
Basque said Tuesday’s blaze in Santa Rosa caused an estimated $200,000 to $250,000 in damages.
Eighteen firefighters and four engines responded to the blaze.
You can reach Staff Writer Derek Moore at 521-5336 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @deadlinederek.