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Close call in the Hayward hills

Capt. Thor Poulsen of the Hayward Fire Department said a close call this week serves as a reminder to keep those smoke alarm batteries fresh — and make sure you have one installed in the garage as well. Here’s the brief story from the paper:

GARAGE FIRE A ‘CLOSE CALL’: A small fire in the garage of a Hayward hills home was quickly extinguished Thursday morning, but fire officials said it had the potential to be much worse because of the early hour.

At 3:39 a.m., a homeowner in the 28100 block of Dobbel Avenue called authorities to say he heard popping sounds coming from his garage and, upon checking, saw a fire had started near his workbench, fire Capt. Thor Poulsen said. The man opened the garage door, allowing his dog to flee, then yelled for his wife and 6-year-old daughter to get out as well.

His wife awoke, grabbed their 6-year-old daughter, who was asleep in the room above the garage, and fled the house. The man and a neighbor called 911, and firefighters arrived within three minutes.

“There were smoke detectors throughout the house, but not in the garage,” Poulsen said. “If they had all been sleeping, they could have easily succumbed to smoke and died.”

The fire did not spread to the house, and the cause was not determined.

In addition, Poulsen said it’s common for people not to install detectors in the garage, “but that’s where you have gas stored, sometimes a water heater, flammable stuff. You really need one there.”

He said if the man hadn’t been awake, browsing the Internet, nothing would have warned the slumbering family — not even the dog.

“Dogs typically don’t act like Lassie,” he said. “They’ll get scared, go over into the corner, curl up and hide. It would have been the first to succumb to smoke.”

“This was a real, real close call. If the guy went upstairs and went to bed, I don’t know if we would have been pulling bodies out of there.”

Here are some more fire safety facts and tips from HFD.

Eric Kurhi