Snarling and barking, a dog defends its master against all comers; lots of motion blur indicates speed of the action involved as the jaws come together

(Photo credit: Stuart Pearcey)

Dog Attacks Battalion Chief at East Bay House Fire

July 16, 2018 - 9:55 am

ASHLAND, CA (KCBS Radio) —  An Alameda County Fire Department battalion chief was seriously injured Saturday by a pit bull as fire crews fought a house fire in the unincorporated community of Ashland.

The blaze was reported at 9:37 a.m. Saturday at 16011 Maubert Ave. near San Leandro, and near the Bayfair shopping mall. Firefighters arrived to find a 15 year-old girl hanging out a window of the two-story house, said fire department spokeswoman Aisha Knowles.

Also rescued were 18 of 20 dogs that lived in the house. Two others, both puppies, died in the fire, Knowles said.

After her rescue, the 15 year-old girl was speaking with Battalion Chief John Whiting, when one of the dogs, a male pit bull named Coda, lunged at Whiting's face, tearing off a piece of the lower left side of his face, Knowles said. That dog was on a leash held by the girl, but was close enough to strike Whiting, Knowles said.

Whiting was taken to Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley for emergency surgery, and later transferred to Stanford Medical Center. Whiting likely faces "many additional surgeries," Knowles said.

The Alameda County Sheriff's Office has opened an animal negligence/cruelty investigation surrounding the dogs. The dog that attacked Whiting is being held in quarantine, Knowles said, and the other 17 surviving dogs - mostly pit bulls - were turned over to animal control.

No cause for the fire had been determined by tonight, Knowles said, and there is no damage estimate yet.

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