A curious canine accidentally sparked a small kitchen fire while home alone Wednesday, but his owners were quickly alerted by their smart tech smoke alarms, according to Roanoke County Fire & Rescue.
Gilbert, a bluetick coonhound, appeared to try to sneak a peek at the house’s stovetop while his family was out, officials said.
In the process, the 90-pound pup apparently hit one of the gas range’s knobs, activating a burner. The hot burner slowly started to charbroil a nearby butcher block knife holder.
As smoke began billowing off the wooden block, homeowner Matt Barr, who was at work, started getting a barrage of phone alerts from the house’s Google Nest smoke alarm system.
Those alerts allowed the family to swiftly call the fire department.
“Otherwise, we could have been in a boatload of trouble,” said Barr, whose family just moved into their Roanoke County home last year.
The fire department arrived at the house on Sullivan Lane shortly after 10:15 a.m. Wednesday to find a haze of light smoke emanating from the kitchen.
Thanks to the quick response, damage was minimal, officials said. Gilbert wasn’t injured, and firefighters took care to comfort him.
When Barr arrived, he said, the hound was getting pampered with attention and pets from first responders.
“He was lapping it up,” he said with a chuckle.
The fire didn’t displace the family from their home, officials said. The knife block, found blackened to a crisp, looks to be a total loss based on a photo posted by the county.
First responders said the case highlights the importance of maintaining working smoke detectors. Smart technology can enhance that protection, officials added.
“We are glad everyone is safe after what could have been a much different situation,” read a statement posted by the fire department.
The department concluded that Gilbert was the culprit behind the errant bonfire. Stovetop fires sparked by dogs are unusual but not unheard of.
Since 2018, pups jumping up and putting their paws against stovetops have been pointed to as the cause of fires in Massachusetts, Vancouver and, as recently as last month, Utah, according to news reports.
Gilbert, while he may not fully understand what happened, appears to suspect that he was at the center of all the commotion.
He’s been hitting his family with the sad eyes as they assess the smoke residue damage in the kitchen.
But Gilbert, a much-beloved rescue just adopted last fall, isn’t in the doghouse with his family.
“He’s a good boy,” Barr said. “I think he’ll get a pass.”