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Dog dies in Los Altos house fire, no other injuries reported

The homeowner said he does not have insurance but will try to repair the damage himself.

Dog dies in Los Altos house fire, no other injuries reported
Mike Finney, 71, cradles his 1-year-old chiweenie puppy Brea, which died in a house fire, Thursday, April 18, 2024. Photo by Brandon Richardson.

A 1-year-old puppy died during a house fire in the Los Altos neighborhood Thursday afternoon, the Long Beach Fire Department confirmed.

Firefighters were sent to the 2000 block of Lomina Ave. near Los Santos Drive just before 4:30 p.m., according to Captain Jake Heflin. Crews arrived at the scene within six minutes and had the fire knocked down by 4:39 p.m., he said.

The fire is under investigation, Heflin said, but the owner of the house, 71-year-old Mike Finney, said he thinks it was caused was a battery for a remote control car. Finney, who has lived in the home for 30 years, said he plugged in a battery for a car he had not used in a long time, went to the bathroom and came back to his mattress on fire.

Long Beach firefighters try to revive a 1-year-old chiweenie puppy Brea after knocking down a house fire in Los Altos, Thursday, April 18, 2024. The puppy died at the scene. Photo by Brandon Richardson.

A retired contractor who recently lost his job, Finney said he does not have insurance but will try to repair the damaged house himself.

Finney’s chiweenie puppy, Brea, was trapped in the back of the house.

“I heard her barking but I couldn’t get in there,” he said. “I couldn’t breathe, I couldn't see anything.”


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Firefighters recovered the dog from inside the home and tried to revive her but pronounced her dead at the scene. Animal Control picked up the remains.

“I loved my dog. She was my life,” Finney said, adding that he got the dog as a newborn. “It’s worse than losing family.”

Long Beach firefighters knocking down a house fire in Los Altos, Thursday, April 18, 2024. Photo by Brandon Richardson.
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