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AVENUES FIRE GUTS GARAGE, CLAIMS DOG

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Flames from a gas-fume explosion gutted the garage of a Salt Lake Avenues home Thursday, causing more than $30,000 in damage and claiming the life of the family dog.

There were no other injuries.The fire, at 503 10th Avenue, ignited soon after homeowner Bill Goldner began siphoning gas from the fuel tank of his station wagon about 4:30 p.m.

"Some gas fumes got into a space heater that I had in the garage and the pilot light caught fire," said Goldner, 56. "I ran outside through the basement and thought about trying to put out the fire with my garden hose, but it was no use."

Firefighters arrived moments later and doused the blaze in about 10 minutes as a black mask of smoke enveloped the adjoining two-story house.

Crews then searched each room in the home and discovered Goldner's yellow Lab, Yuba, hidden underneath a bed.

"A couple of our men lifted the dog out of the house and tried to revive it, but it had inhaled too much soot," said Salt Lake Fire Capt. Dan Andrus.

The family cat, Tiger, was rescued in another bedroom and survived.

While firefighters ventilated the 50-year-old home, Goldner's mother, Elizabeth Goldner, sat outside holding Tiger and sipping Gatorade - a stunned expression lining her face.

"I had just returned home from shopping and saw what was going on, I can't believe this happened," she said.

Afterward, fire officials warned of gasoline's volatile nature.

"People should avoid working with gas," said Andrus. "If you use a portable heater, make sure it's always elevated because gas fumes move along the ground."