Pet dog takes the rap for fire that displaces Arizona family

A dog left alone at home struck the knob on a gas range Tuesday, lighting a burner that ignited flammable materials on the stove, firefighters said. Tucson, Ariz., Fire Department

A fire that severely damaged an apartment Tuesday in Tucson, Ariz., was blamed on the family dog.

It took nine fire units to put out the blaze, which left the family of three at least temporarily homeless, fire officials said.

The family wasn't home Tuesday morning, but the dog was, Tucson fire Capt. Barrett Baker told NBC station KVOA of Tucson.

Some time before 9 a.m., the dog — whose breed and name weren't disclosed — got curious and began trying to jump up on the kitchen counter, fire officials said. Its paw hit a knob on the family's gas stove, lighting one of the burners. That, in turn, ignited flammable materials on the stove, which family members told investigators they rarely used.

There was no immediate damage assessment, and no one — including the dog or any of the 23 firefighters who put out the fire in less than 15 minutes — was injured. The Red Cross was trying to find a new home for the family.

It's not the first time a dog has been fingered as a firebug. In October, a Labrador trying to get at some snacks on the stove ignited a kitchen fire exactly the same way in Wenatchee, Wash., causing $10,000 in damage.

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