CASTRO VALLEY (CBS SF) – A barn-like garage at a Castro Valley home that housed two tortoises and some chickens was damaged in an early morning fire that injured one firefighter, Alameda County fire officials said.

Six fire crews responded to the home in the 17400 block of Almond Road at 3:12 a.m., Alameda County fire spokeswoman Aisha Knowles said.

When firefighters arrived, the homeowner was trying to extinguish the flames using his garden hose, but the blaze had grown too large, Battalion Chief Dan O’Hara said.

The homeowner kept several animals, including chickens and tortoises, in cages and pens in and around the garage, O’Hara said. He said it appears the fire started when a heating pad used to keep the tortoises warm overheated.

The animals escaped unharmed.

“They scurried over across the yard,” he said.

The fire was contained to the garage, which sustained moderate damage.

The blaze was initially challenging to fight because of all the items inside the garage, O’Hara said.

However, firefighters were able to put out the flames within 10 minutes of their arrival, he said.

One firefighter suffered heat exhaustion and was taken to Eden Medical Center for treatment.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  1. Donald Wright says:

    Oh, please, not another “my tortoise heating pad caught on fire” story! If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times–people, you must properly ground your tortoise heating pads!

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