ALAMEDA COUNTY (CBS SF) — Two people are being treated for severe burns and their pets are lucky to be alive after an apartment fire in San Leandro overnight.

“It was something that needed to be done,” said Alameda County Fire Captain Randall Mancuso.

The fire broke out just before 1 a.m. on 159th Avenue in the Ashland Area. Firefighters were able to knock down the flames within minutes of arriving, but not before two residents, a cat and a dog were injured.

A man was taken to St. Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco for a combination of first-, second- and third-degree burns that covered his face and front chest area.

A second victim, a woman, suffered smoke inhalation was being treated at Eden Medical Center.

Firefighters also used a tiny oxygen mask to revive a dog and cat suffering from sever smoke inhalation at the scene. First responders did not expect the pets to survive initially, but crews were able to transport the pets to the VCA Bay Area Veterinary Hospital in San Leandro.

Sparkles the dog was found under the stairwell.

“The stairs started to melt he was hiding under,” Mancuso said. “He wasn’t responsive at all.”

Firefighters found Crystal the cat with a thermal imaging camera outside. The animals were revived with special animal oxygen masks firefighters hadn’t used in years.

“I started rubbing its back really hard to give it a little motivation,” said Captain John Hartmann. “After about two minutes, it started to move.”

After a harrowing morning, Sparkle and Crystals were visited by the firefighters who rescued them.

“Last night they didn’t look anything like this,” said Mancuso. “To see them like this is absolutely worth it all.”

Both pets are expected to recover with oxygen therapy.

The fire only damaged a single unit, and appears to have started on the kitchen range.


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