A 10:36 a.m. single alarm blaze at an Emeryville triangle neighborhood home claimed the life of a family pet and gutted the interior of a house owned by Mayor Dianne Martinez and her husband Tim Byron. No injuries to Martinez’ family occurred but the blaze claimed the life of the family dog “Holly”. The cause of the blaze was unknown and still being investigated by Alameda County Fire Department.
Martinez’s husband Tim was in the backyard in-law unit when fire alarms went off. “I saw the smoke and opened the back door. My cat immediately ran out but I couldn’t find our dog” recounted a somber Byron. “Smoke was billowing so I tried the front door but flames were engulfing it.” Holly most likely died of smoke inhalation and did not suffer.
Byron immediately called 911 and units from Alameda County and Oakland fire departments responded at 10:42 a.m. Firefighters contained the fire at 10:52 a.m. and spent an additional 45 minutes mopping up hot spots. The interior was nearly completely gutted except the front children’s room. The front exterior of the home sustained “moderate to severe damage estimated to be a $60,000 loss” according to Alameda County Fire Battalion Chief Mark Carter.
Mayor Martinez was away at the time of the blaze and both of their children were fortunately away at school. Martinez, shaken and emotional about the loss of the family pet and personal property but noted “most of it is just ‘stuff’ ” and stressed the importance that her family was safe. “Holly was like our first child” Martinez mourned while choking back tears.
Martinez and her family have already procured temporary housing at the Hyatt House Hotel in Emeryville. “We will rebuild!” added a tearful but proud Martinez. “We are going to be fine” added Byron who noted they were insured and would be OK financially. “If people have hand me down clothes for a 3-year-old or 5-year-old, we’d happily accept that.”