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Petaluma firefighter injured battling garage blaze

Petaluma firefighters extinguish a blaze that tore through a garage and into a home on South McDowell Blvd. near Caulfield Lane on Wednesday, April 24.

John O'Hara/ For the Argus-Courier
Published: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 11:13 p.m.

A Petaluma firefighter received second-degree burns on his left arm while battling a garage fire at 732 S. McDowell Blvd. on Wednesday afternoon.

The injury occurred when the firefighter lifted the garage door to pump water onto the blaze. As the door opened, large amounts of pressurized smoke and gases were released, officials said.

The pressurized smoke flashed, creating a large fireball that burned the firefighter. The firefighter was treated by Petaluma Fire Department ambulance personnel and transported to Petaluma Valley Hospital with moderate injuries. He was released an hour later.

The fire destroyed the garage and caused severe damage to the kitchen, as well as heat and smoke damage throughout the home. Other parts of the home were damaged as firefighters worked to put the fire out.

Officials said the fire was caused accidentally by a discharged cigarette. Structural damage was estimated at $50,000, and there was another $25,000 in damage to resident possessions.

Fire officials said they believe two cats were able to escape the fire. The occupants, a mother and three children, declined shelter assistance, but the Red Cross was called to assist in helping the family.

Rancho Adobe Fire Protection District and Cal Fire assisted Petaluma firefighters as the scene.

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