LIVERMORE — A smoke detector helped a Livermore man and his pet chinchilla escape an early Friday fire, a Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department official said.

Crews from the department, with assistance from the Alameda County Fire Department, responded to a home in the 5600 block of Oakmont Circle about 1:51 a.m. for a report of a structure fire.

Firefighters found the garage of a detached single-family home on fire, Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Battalion Chief Michael Miller said.

The home”s lone occupant had escaped safely via a bedroom window before firefighters arrived, Miller said.

Firefighters had most of the blaze extinguished after about 10 minutes and were able to contain the fire to the garage. The fire was completely extinguished by 2:30 a.m. They also rescued the man”s pet chinchilla, which Miller said was not injured.

The resident told fire officials he woke to the sound of the smoke detector and when he opened his bedroom door he found the house filled with smoke and saw a glow from the fire. He escaped through the window and called 911, Miller said.

The smoke detector, fire officials said, saved his life.

Some contents of the home sustained smoke, water and fire damage because crews had to open the ceiling of the house to contain the blaze, Miller said.

The home was uninhabitable after the fire, but the man and his pet chinchilla were able to secure temporary housing, Miller said.

The fire, which investigators said started in the garage, caused about $130,000 in damage and remained under investigation Friday.

Contact Natalie Neysa Alund at 510-293-2469. Follow her at

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