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Fireball Explosion During Petaluma Blaze Injures Firefighter

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(CBS graphic)

(CBS graphic)

PETALUMA (CBS SF) – A Petaluma firefighter was injured while fighting a fire that damaged a home on South McDowell Boulevard on Wednesday afternoon, a battalion chief said.

Thick black smoke was coming from the single-story home at 732 S. McDowell Blvd. when firefighters arrived at about 2 p.m., Petaluma fire Battalion Chief Jeff Holden said.

The firefighter was burned when he opened the garage door, which released large amounts of pressurized smoke and gases and caused a fireball to burst from the front of the garage, Holden said.

He was treated at Petaluma Valley Hospital for second-degree burns to his upper left arm and was released about an hour later, according to Holden.

The blaze, which appears to have been sparked by a discarded cigarette, caused $75,000 in damage to the residence and its contents, the battalion chief said.

It was controlled within 20 minutes, and destroyed the garage, caused severe damage to the kitchen and resulted in heat and smoke damage to much of the rest of the house, Holden said.

A dog was rescued from a back bedroom, and two cats are believed to have escaped the blaze, Holden said.

The residents, a mother, father and three children, were displaced but did not request housing assistance from the American Red Cross.

Cal Fire and the Rancho Adobe Fire Protection District also responded to the blaze.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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