2010 April 6: CA Alta Sierra (Kern County): Wood stove ashes cause fire

2010 April 6: CA Alta Sierra (Kern County): Wood stove ashes cause fire
 
Published on Tuesday, April 6, 2010 10:15 PM PDT

Amber Siratt
Kern Valley Sun

“I truly believe that dog saved our lives,” said Bill Edwards as he recalled the heroic actions of Lucy, a 7-year-old Yorkshire Terrier named for Lucille Ball, who sensed danger and took action. The events unfolded a few weeks ago in Alta Sierra where Edwards resides with his wife Donna and daughter Shaunna.

Edwards had returned home late in the day with his daughter; his wife was at work. Before retiring for the evening, ashes from the wood stove were emptied into an ash bucket located near the hearth. A few hours later, Edwards who is a deep sleeper and on oxygen, was abruptly awoken by Lucy barking and jumping on his chest alerting him that the house had filled with smoke. The ashes had not fully extinguished and produced a layer of thick, dark smoke that hovered nearly three to four feet down the ceiling according to Edwards. Thanks to Lucy, Edwards and his daughter were able to safely evacuate their home.


Lucy, a 7-year-old Yorkshire Terrier woke her owners to alert them that their Alta Sierra cabin had filled with dangerous thick smoke.

The fact that not one of the cabin’s three smoke detectors went off surprised Edwards. Two of the detectors are within 10 feet of the wood stove. “We are dilligent about making sure we have working smoke detectors. To have them fail, really caught me off guard,” said Edwards who replaced the detectors the next day.

After the incident, Edwards phoned his wife to let her know what had happened and that he and Shaunna were safe but that the cabin had sustained severe smoke damage. Ironically, Donna is employed as a 9-1-1 dispatcher for the Kern County Fire Department.

The family has three Yorkshire Terriers and during the incident, the two younger canine companions hid during the commotion. Edwards who has been chronically ill for several years says he is not surprised by Lucy’s actions and that she has always been a very devoted dog. Lucy never strays too far from his side, especially when his wife is at work, explains Edwards. “It could have turned out differently if it weren’t for Lucy. We are very, very proud of her,” said Edwards. Certainly another reason to say “I Love Lucy.”

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