Neighbors help rescue family, four dogs from house fire

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LEMON GROVE, Calif. - A family of five and four of their dogs escaped as towering flames spread from a garage to their home, killing another beloved pet.

The blaze was reported shortly before 11 p.m. Tuesday night at a single-story house on Golden View Terrace near Golden Avenue in Lemon Grove, Heartland Fire & Rescue spokesman Sonny Saghera said. Flames broke out in the garage and quickly spread to the house.

“I just ran to the window, opened it up, saw the flames, and took off running,” said Melissa Minniefee, a neighbor who lives across the street.

Minniefee was one of a handful of neighbors who heard the explosion and rushed toward the burning home.

“I grabbed my phone immediately, and called 911," Minniefee said, then she and her husband turned to run across the street to help. "My door was jammed, I was kicking my door and screaming fire to my husband and opening it up. He immediately shot out, grabbed the hose and ran over there."s

Firefighters doused the blaze and knocked down the flames within 30 minutes, he said.

Two adults and three children were able to get out of the house on their own, but four dogs had to be rescued by firefighters and one dog was found dead inside the house, Saghera said.

No other injuries were reported and The American Red Cross was called in to help the displaced residents arrange for interim lodging.

The blaze caused an estimated $100,000 worth of damage to the structure and its contents, Saghera said.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

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