A 4-year-old husky named Yuri started a kitchen fire that nearly killed him and damaged the family home Tuesday in west Santa Rosa, fire officials said.
Firefighters found the dog unconscious from smoke inhalation and had to resuscitate it with a canine breathing mask. Yuri likely knocked on a gas stove knob when jumping up with its front paws, possibly to get some food, fire officials said.
The low flame ignited a nearby stack of papers, said Quang Pham, Santa Rosa fire investigator.
When William and Donna Taylor and their teen son arrived home at 3:40 p.m., they found their two-story Lodi Street house full of smoke. Both adults tried to go into the home to get their dog but had to turn back due to the thick smoke, Santa Rosa Fire Capt. Steve Suter said.
Firefighters arrived within five minutes and found the family out front frantic. As crews set up hoses and started the firefight, Suter went inside to search for the dog.
With smoke so thick he couldn’t see the floor. Suter said he eventually found the dog on the first floor near the staircase after bumping into it with his foot. He lifted and carried the 40‑pound husky mix outside.
When the dog began to breathe, he was loaded into Santa Rosa Fire Battalion Chief Jason Jenkins’ truck and taken to a veterinary hospital. Yuri then was driven to the UC Davis veterinary hospital, where he was being treated Wednesday. Due to the smoke inhalation, there was concern regarding his lungs, fire officials said.
“Before the animal went to the hospital it was sitting up on its own,” Suter said.
Damage to the home was estimated at $100,000, Santa Rosa Battalion Chief Matt Dahl said. The fire displaced the family.
Firefighters could tell the fire started in the kitchen, as the worst damage was there. The fire had burned awhile before the family arrived and had spread into the walls, crawlspace and below the floor. Firefighters cut large holes in multiple areas to get to the flames, which they had under control in about 30 minutes, Dahl said.
How the blaze started was Pham’s focus.
Family members told him they rarely used the kitchen range and hadn’t used it Tuesday. Yuri also wasn’t known to jump onto the counter, according to the family. However, Pham said, that became the likely cause for the blaze after other options were eliminated.
“The only reason is the dog. There are cases where cats and dogs try to get food on the counter and sometimes hit the knob,” he said.
You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 707‑521-5412 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter@rossmannreport.
How To Help
A GoFundMe campaign has been started to help Yuri's family with his medical bills. To donate, go to www.gofundme.com/yuri-4-yr-old-husky-needs-your-help