Neighbors on Regatta Drive awoke Wednesday morning to a housekeeper running down the street pounding on homes and screaming for help, flames shooting through the roof of one house and Lhasa apsos amok in the yard.
The fire broke out in the garage of a two-story home in the 9000 block of Regatta Drive about 9 a.m. and was fueled by gasoline from two cars inside, firefighters said.
Neighbors said they saw flames shooting through the wood-shingle roof and the dogs fleeing the fire.
Carol Lynn Reed, 46, who lives across the street, ran to rescue the dogs.
“I saw these three strange dogs running around,” she said. “One was growling.”
Reed corralled four dogs in all and took them home, but only after some struggle.
“One dog kept going back to the house. She was protecting it,” Reed said. “She was very scared.” Reed said she “baby-talked” the dog into her arms.
Homeowner James L. Harrington, 43, who had just arrived at his office in Santa Fe Springs when he was notified of the fire, returned as firefighters brought it under control.
“You never think it is going to happen to you,” Harrington said.
The fire gutted the garage and attic and caused extensive damage to the rest of the house, estimated at $200,000, firefighters said. The cars, both expensive sports models, were charred inside and out.
The housekeeper was treated for minor smoke inhalation, and Huntington Beach firefighter Brian Knott was treated for a torn back muscle he suffered fighting the fire.
Harrington’s four Lhasa apsos waited at a neighbor’s house while he, his wife, Elsa, 40, and their daughter Tina Page, 21, surveyed the damage. The dogs added a lighter moment when one hopped into the neighbor’s pool.
“I had to rescue her twice,” Reed said.