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Dishwasher caused fire that displaced family

By Stephanie Valle, Anchor and Reporter, StephanieV@kvia.com
Published On: Dec 10 2012 11:25:54 AM CST
Updated On: Dec 17 2012 12:47:10 PM CST

Owner Reginald Berry shows ABC-7 his burned-out kitchen after the dishwasher caught fire.

EL PASO, Texas -

Reginald Berry said he was sound asleep when he was awakened by a screeching smoke alarm and his wife, Sandy, screaming, "Fire!"

Reginald told ABC-7 he ran into the kitchen to find it ablaze.

"It was an odd experience to come out and see that thing just roaring," he said, gesturing to the charred space that once contained the dishwasher.

Sandy called 911 while Reginald tried to contain the fire. He said the fire extinguisher was in the kitchen, but out of reach, beyond the flames. He grabbed the next best thing -- the garden hose.

"I'd put it out and it'd be pitch black, and then I'd go out and get some fresh air and come back in, and it had started up again," said Reginald. "Each time, it had gotten bigger than the time before."

He finally gave up his effort, helping his wife bundle up their three grandchildren who live with them, ages 3, 7 and 9, and running out of the home.

El Paso Fire Department crews arrived at the home on the 100 block of La Mirada Circle in the Upper Valley minutes later to put out the blaze. About 25 firefighters responded.

Firefighters had to rescue two small dogs that were still inside their kennels inside the garage. No injuries were reported and the dogs were safely rescued.

Fire officials say crews managed to contain the fire to the kitchen area. A fire investigator determined the fire was caused by the dishwasher malfunctioning.

Reginald credits the fire department with saving his home, but said he thinks he kept the fire from getting bigger.

"If I wasn't home, the whole house would have gone up," he said. "Because what I was doing (with the hose), I at least bought time until the fire department got here, because it was going fast."

The fire caused an estimated $25,000 in damage.

The El Paso Fire Department would like to remind the public to test their smoke alarms monthly and change the batteries at least twice per year. If you do not have a smoke alarm and need assistance obtaining one, please contact the El Paso Fire Prevention Division at (915) 485-5699 for a free smoke alarm and installation.

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