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Match-chewing dog blamed for starting house fire

Dennis Berry said the Mount Lorne fire was likely started by a pyromaniac pooch mistaking a box of matches for a chew toy.

By Ben Hooper

MOUNT LORNE, Yukon, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- Fire investigators in Canada's Yukon territory said a dog making a meal out of some "strike anywhere" matches was the likely cause of a house fire.

Dennis Berry of the Yukon Fire Marshal's Office said investigators probing last month's fire at a Mount Lorne home determined the fire started in or near the home's dog bed and seems to have been started with some "strike anywhere" matches the canine arsonist had chosen as a chew toy.

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Berry said the homeowner was not around at the time of the Nov. 25 blaze and the family's dogs escaped uninjured through the doggie door.

"Obviously it's easy enough for a dog to plan an escape when they set fire to their own dog bed," Berry told CBC News.

He said the burned remains of a box of "strike anywhere" matches were found near the dog bed.

"The most likely and the most probable conclusion is the dogs at some point took the match box and were chewing on it or playing with it and that caused the matches to ignite," he told the National Post.

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Berry said the fire, which caused extensive smoke damage to the home, should serve as a reminder to other residents to be aware of fire hazards.

"The warning from this is that, certainly as we enter the holiday season, but any time of the year, that it's very easy start a fire and something as easy as a dog chewing on a pack of matches could easily start a fire," he said.

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