SAN LEANDRO (KPIX) – An Alameda County Fire Department Battalion Chief is recovering in the hospital after he was bitten in the face by a pit bull at a San Leandro house fire.

It happened around 9:30 a.m. Saturday morning, on Maubert Avenue.

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Authorities found several pit bulls outside the home. Two dogs died in the fire and a 15-year-old girl had to be rescued. Her brother had fought to save about 20 dogs and puppies before jumping to safety.

Authorities say the Battalion Chief John Whiting was attacked when he approached the teenager to ask her questions.

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“As he approached he made sure the dog was subdued and was okay to approach (but) he was 2 to 3 feet away from the girl and for whatever reason the dog jumped and attacked our battalion chief causing severe damage to his face,” said Alan Evans a fire department spokesman.

The battalion chief was rushed by ambulance to Stanford Medical Center where he underwent the first of many reconstructive surgeries on his face.

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“It was a very, I would say, extreme bite,” said Evans.