By Derwin Gowan, Telegraph-Journal
A young dog home alone apparently knocked over a heat lamp, setting fire to an apartment outside St. Stephen Saturday morning.
The tenants, a young couple, set the heat lamp over an aquarium, a home to pet lizards, house owner Peter Grimmer said Monday.
The couple went to Saint John at 9 or 9:30 in the morning, to buy lizard food, St. Stephen Fire Chief Jeff Richardson understood. The pit bull puppy probably knocked the lamp onto the couch, the chief said.
Grimmer lives in the L-shaped house. His tenants lived in a downstairs apartment. An upstairs apartment was vacant.
Late in the morning the owner smelled smoke. The fire department got the emergency call at 11:35 a.m. Firefighters extinguished the blaze in about an hour.
Grimmer was glad he was home Saturday.
"Thank God. It would be gone," he said Monday, referring to his home.
He credits the sheet-rock walls with preventing the fire from spreading.
As it was, the downstairs apartment suffered heat and smoke damage, especially the couch and the floor. Smoke damaged the upstairs apartment.
Grimmer has not moved out. He is dealing with the insurance company to repair the apartment so his tenants can move back in, probably in a couple of months.
"If he hadn't been at home it would have been a different story again," Richardson said.
The tenants are staying with family. The Canadian Red Cross arranged emergency accommodations, food and clothing, a news release stated.
The puppy and three bearded dragon lizards survived, the fire chief said. Two other lizards, a tarantula and a gecko did not, he said.