Investigators have determined an electrical issue caused a fire confined to the bedroom of a residence Monday morning on Seymour’s west side.
No one was home at the time, but firefighters had the chance to use the department’s pet oxygen mask on two dogs found inside the residence at 326 Kessler Blvd., and it paid off, Chief Brad Lucas said.
“It worked perfectly,” Lucas said of the mask designed to revive dogs found inside burning buildings or those filled with smoke.
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Lucas said in this case, one of the two dogs — a brown dachshund puppy — was in pretty bad shape by the time firefighters pulled them from the house.
“One of the guys said he wouldn’t have made it much longer,” Lucas said.
This was the first time city firefighters have had the chance to use the mask since the $75 kit was given to the department for free through Invisible Fence of South Central Indiana’s Project Breathe earlier this year. That’s a program to put pet oxygen masks in every fire station in the U.S. and Canada.
The second dog was bigger and not in as bad of shape when taken out of the home, but both had inhaled a lot of smoke, Lucas said. The city’s animal control officer took control of both dogs.
Before obtaining the pet oxygen mask, which comes in three sizes for small, medium and large dogs, firefighters have tried to use human oxygen masks to save animals. Those attempts have had limited success, Lucas said.
Those involved in reviving the dogs include Sgt. Chris Allman and firefighters Tom Hoene, David Nichter and David Vehslage.
Seymour Police Chief Bill Abbott said police were attempting to find and talk to Brent S. Yates, who lives in the home. Yates and a girlfriend who lives with him were not at the home, owned by his father, Bill Yates, when the fire was reported at about 6:30 a.m.
Abbott said shortly after the fire was put out that police were helping with the investigation and were able to determine the source of the fire involved an extension cord plugged into a power strip.
He also said the electrical meter to the home was missing, and that’s an issue that might have contributed to the fire.
Battalion Chief John Thomas said the fire was contained to a bedroom on the south side of the home, and damage was limited to that room and its contents.
Seven fire trucks initially were sent to Fourth Street and Kessler Boulevard because a shift change was in progress, Thomas said, although it only took the crew from one truck to put the fire out.
Billie Miskell, who lives next door to the Yates home, said she had never had any problems with her neighbors.
“They’ve been nice to me,” said Miskell, who was asked to leave her home briefly by firefighters called to fight the fire.