February 25, 2010 in City

Family says dachshund gave fire alert

Paula Horton Tri-City Herald
Associated Press photo

Kalen Huntley, 11, holds JoJo, a 3-year-old dachshund that alerted her and her family on Sunday to an overheated outlet in the bedroom of her family’s Kennewick home. Fire officials say the house was just minutes from catching fire.
(Full-size photo)

KENNEWICK – JoJo, a 3-year-old dachshund, saved a Kennewick family and their home from a potentially damaging fire early Sunday.

The light-brown “wiener dog” with short stubby legs is being credited for trying to shove 11-year-old Kalen Huntley out of her bed and alerting her parents to an electrical fire smoldering behind an outlet on her bedroom wall.

“Our dog saved our house,” said Diane Urquhart, who lives in a trailer at the Chinook Mobile Home Park with her husband, Colt, and four of their children.

The couple and three of the kids were home when the outlet in Kalen’s room apparently started overheating around 1 a.m. Sunday.

Kalen was asleep with JoJo, who usually sleeps with Kalen until her parents go to bed, Diane Urquhart said.

That night, however, JoJo kept coming out of Kalen’s room but they couldn’t figure out what he wanted.

“He came out to see us four times, then kept going back into our daughter’s room,” she said.

Urquhart said JoJo’s ears usually tell his story – if he’s happy, hungry or has done something wrong.

“These ears we did not recognize,” she said. “And his face, if a dog can look worried, he looked worried.”

Urquhart heard Kalen stirring and decided to see what was going on, and when she walked in her room she could smell a strong burning rubber smell.

They called 911, woke everybody up and quickly got out of the house, taking with them the family’s two cats and JoJo.

There was no smoke in Kalen’s room, but Urquhart said the wall at the head of her bed was hot. Firefighters told the family the outlet, which had a lamp and alarm clock plugged into it, was minutes away from catching fire, Urquhart said.

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email