By Bob Uphues
A family of four escaped injury but has been displaced from their Riverside home after a fire caused serious damage to the rear of the building during the early morning hours of April 15.
Fire Chief Matthew Buckley said a neighbor called 911 at about 12:20 a.m. after seeing flames coming from the rear of the house at 281 E. Quincy St., a two-story brick Tudor-style single-family residence on the south side of the street.
Buckley said that when he arrived on scene, both parents and their two children had been able to exit the house unharmed after being awakened, he said, by the sound of glass breaking.
"They were very lucky to get out," Buckley said.
The fire was confined to the rear of the house, including an enclosed three-season porch and the kitchen area, said Buckley. Firefighters doused the rear of the home with water while another team entered through the front door to battle the flames from that direction.
That team also searched for four dogs trapped in the fire, finding them in a second-floor bedroom. None of the dogs survived, according to Buckley, despite attempts to give them oxygen using special pet masks donated in the past to the department.
Buckley said it appears that the fire started in the rear enclosed porch area, but that the source of the blaze is still under investigation. He said the fire did not appear to be suspicious.
The porch and kitchen, he said, were consumed by the fire and that the entire house sustained smoke and water damage.
The fire made the house uninhabitable, said Buckley, who added the family was staying with relatives at this time.