MADISON — A house was destroyed by fire Tuesday when a family dog apparently nudged a valve on a gas stove and turned on a burner, causing a dish atop the stove to erupt into flames that spread to the rest of the home, a fire official said Wednesday.

The fire at 118 White House School Road was reported at about 7:45 p.m. Tuesday, according to Chief Don French of the Madison Fire Department.

The family of five, which includes three young children, was dining out at the time, leaving five dogs at home.

None of the pets was hurt because a passerby happened to spot the fire and let the dogs out of the single-story house before calling firefighters, French said.

The house was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived, he said. A nearby pickup truck also sustained minor damage.

The blaze drew firefighters from Madison, Anson, Norridgewock, Skowhegan and Starks. French said firefighters were at the scene until about 10 p.m.

The Office of State Fire Marshal has conducted an investigation, French said, and believes one of the family’s dogs inadvertently turned on one of the burners. It is not clear if the dog was trying to reach food on the stove.

“The stove wasn’t on when the homeowner left. They checked it,” French said. “We believe that the dog turned one of the valves on the stove, and there was something on top of the stove that probably caught fire. They said macaroni and cheese, or something like that.”

The family was with a relative Wednesday, French said, while the American Red Cross was trying to find a place for the family to stay.

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