The North Bend Eagle

Garage fire
Breckin, Burkett and (back) Emerson Peters were woke up to a fire in their garage after Scooter, center, sounded the alarm. The garage contents were destroyed, but there was no damage to the attached house.

Dog alerts family to fire

by Katie Mattson
Published 9/26/12

Jeff and Aimee Peters were used to their dog, Scooter, occasionally barking late at night. He would sometimes make noise at random movements outside or if an unfamiliar dog walked through their yard. Typically Jeff would tell Scooter to hush and that would be the end of it.

On the morning of Sept. 20, however, Scooter insisted on being heard.

Around 4:30 a.m. last Thursday, the Peters were awakened by Scooter’s loud bark. As usual, Jeff told Scooter to be quiet, but Scooter just wouldn’t listen.

“He’s usually so obedient,” Jeff Peters said, “but this was one of those instances where his tone was almost like, ‘No, YOU be quiet and get out here!’”

Fire damageTwo of the Peters' vehicles were destroyed in the fire.

Peters said he realized something might be wrong, so he got out of bed and went to the front of their house. From there he was able to look out the kitchen window to see smoke billowing from the family’s garage, which is attached to their home.

Peters quickly woke his wife Aimee and their kids, Emerson, 12; Breckin, 10; and Burkett, 8, got everyone outside and called 911.

“Prior to this our kids had really pushed us to have a fire plan, so we did have one in place,” Peters said. “The fire department would be proud to know that the kids were listening when they went through fire safety training. Everyone got dressed and outside really quickly. As soon as we walked out the front door that’s when the smoke alarm finally went off. We probably still would have made it out OK, but Scooter’s barking bought us an extra 10 to 15 minutes.”

Scooter, a 4-year-old golden doodle, has been a part of the Peters family since he was 2. Jeff and Aimee found Scooter through a Craigslist post placed by a Bellevue military family who had to part with him because they were moving to Washington, D.C. The family was glad to send Scooter to a good home, even refusing payment for the dog after meeting the Peters.

It seems that Scooter’s watchful eye helped return the favor of his good home to Jeff, Aimee and their children.

“Thanks to Scooter’s early alert, the damage was so much less than it could have been, and we were safer,” Jeff said.

One of the first firefighters on scene said that because the family knew sooner and therefore called 911 sooner, the firefighters’ early arrival possibly prevented the cars from exploding. He told the family that the extra 10 minutes of burning could have been so much more devastating, property and life-wise

The cause of the fire has been linked to a battery charger that the Peters’ use to charge the golf cart overnight. The golf cart was parked in the garage between the family vehicles when the charger overheated, sparking the fire. Although Jeff said both cars were a total loss, there was no damage to the family’s home.

<<Back to the front page