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Calif. Police Rescue Woman and Dog From House Fire

LIVERMORE, Calif. -- Police officers rescued a woman and her dog from a backyard Sunday morning as a fire swept through the front of a house in the 1600 block of Locust St.

Officers were in the area handing out gang awareness pamphlets when they noticed smoke pouring from a single-story home about 10:15 a.m., said police Lt. Matt Sarsfield.

"The entire front of the house was engulfed in flames," Sarsfield said. "They could hear screaming from the back portion of the home."

The smoke and flames made it impossible for officers to walk along the sides of the house to reach the woman and her dog in the backyard, so they went to a neighbor's house and kicked a hole in the back fence, enabling her to escape, Sarsfield said.

The rescued woman, who is an adult daughter of the occupant of the burned building, lives in a separate structure in the backyard, said Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department Battalion Chief Joe Testa. No one was in the burning building except a cat that was killed, Testa said.

Firefighters, who believe the blaze began in a front bedroom, are investigating the cause. There is no reason to suspect arson at this point, Testa said.

He estimated the fire caused $200,000 in damage to the house and $100,000 in damage to its contents.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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