A fire sparked by a stove burner turned on because of the cold, burned down an Oakland home and a mouse on Friday morning, and left a man, his girlfriend and baby without a place to live and wondering where their 16-or-so dogs and puppies were.
Investigators are now looking into the possibility that not only did the mouse die in the fire, but that the rodent may have added to, or helped ignite the blaze.
The 2:30 a.m. fire not only burned one modular home in the 1200 block of 90th Avenue, but affected the two next-door homes as well. There were no human injuries reported.
"We turned on the stove, and we believe it was a mouse that caught on fire and started running around and started something else on fire," Devin Stevenson told NBC Bay Area. "Everything was on fire. I tried to throw water on it, but it was too late."
Stevenson also said that he and his girlfriend own two dogs, which just had litters of about six or seven puppies each. He can't find those dogs and doesn't know if some are dead in the house, or if they were all able to escape.
Firefighters said that animal control officers did spot several dogs running down the street following the early morning blaze.
Oakland Fire Capt. Battalion Chief Erik Logan said about 30 firefighters put out the fire in about 30 minutes, and had some challenges fighting it because it was a "prefab" house, meaning the construction of it isn't high quality.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. But Logan said that other than the animals involved in this blaze, fires starting because of faulty heaters, fire placess and stoves isn't all that uncommon, especially this time of year.
"It's cold, it's Christmas," Logan said. "People are figuring out how to keep warm."