Fire destroys Auburn home

Neighbor saves dogs from burning property
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
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A pet-loving neighbor saved two dogs despite the heavy smoke and flames that trapped them in the yard of an Auburn home that burned Wednesday. No occupants were reportedly inside when the fire started at about noon. Crews from Auburn City, Placer Hills, Higgins and Newcastle fire departments responded to the burning home on the 200 block of Live Oak Street in Auburn. Neighbors watched as thick gray smoke billowed out of the two-level house that belongs to an Auburn woman who was most likely at lunch when the fire started, according to the homeowner’s daughter-in-law Sally Azevedo. Azevedo was the first of the family members on scene and watched in shock as firefighters surrounded the home she said her mother-in-law, Muffy, has lived in “forever.” “We’ll just be there for her,” Azevedo said. “That’s all we can do.” Azevedo had a chance to thank Lewis Niblett, a nearby neighbor who ran over to save Muffy’s two dogs. Niblett said he smelled a fire early in the afternoon. When he walked outside and saw the smoke, he called 911 and then rushed over and kicked the gate in to retrieve the two boxers in the yard. The boxers George and Jane were safe inside his yard when Azevedo arrived. “Thank you for getting the dogs,” Azevedo said while hugging Niblett. Niblett said he wanted to help the animals despite the heavy smoke surrounding the property. “I have dogs and I’m a dog person,” Niblett said. “No animal is going to die if I can help it.” Another neighbor located one house up the street from the fire said she came outside when she started to smell smoke. “I came out here and I couldn’t see anything because the smoke was so thick,” Eva Carlyon said. Fire crews were still surveying the home after the flames were put out. Auburn City Fire Chief Mark D’Ambrogi anticipated firefighters remaining on scene for most of the day. A cause was not yet determined, nor were damage estimates. The Journal's Jenifer Gee can be reached at or post a comment.