ROCK ISLAND -- Nobody was home when a house fire started just north of Rock Island high school Monday morning. No human was home, that is.
"The fire was ignited by the dogs trying to get food off the stove," says Rock Island Fire Marshal Greg Marty.
That's right, a dog started the blaze.
"You wouldn't think it's possible, but we've seen it," says Marty.
The Rock Island Fire Department has seen it four times in the past three years, in fact. The aftermath can be devastating.
Marty says the signs are usually the same. The owner isn't around, it happens in a kitchen with a gas stove, and the owner had seen the behavior before.
"In every case, the homeowners had seen the animal do exactly that; try to get items off the stove," says Marty.
It may seem like a no-brainer, but Marty says the easiest thing to do is keep your stove cleared of any food or combustible objects like pizza boxes.
"If the stove turns on and there's nothing to burn, the chances of the fire spreading are really minimal," says Marty.
Marty also says to keep pets away from things like space heaters and lit candles.
There are also safety stove knob covers that act as safety locks people can buy at a hardware store. They are typically used for child safety, but Marty says they work just as well for pets.