5 cats, 1 dog die in Phoenix house fire - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

5 cats, 1 dog die in Phoenix house fire

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PHOENIX (KSAZ) - A fire claimed the lives of five pets that couldn't escape.

Heavy flames and smoke were billowing from the home's backyard near 7th Avenue and Union Hills on Thursday morning.  The man who lives there did not notice until he stepped out of the home.

"He was taking out his trash.. his trash is in the front. He saw smoke from the front of the house, went to the back of his house and all he saw was flames in his back patio," said Battalion Chief Jim Arbagey of the Phoenix Fire Department.

A neighbor called for help.

"I turned around and saw flames and smoke.. grabbed my phone, called 911 to get somebody here," said Nicole Valentino.

Firefighters arrived at the scene in five minutes, but by then, it was too late to save all the animals at the home.  The fire had spread to the back of the home and the attic.

"This is the time of year with these temperatures.. everything's dry and a normal fire will double in size in one minute," said Arbagey.

Fire officials say five cats and three dogs were home.  The owner saved one dog and firefighters rescued a second. The rest did not make it out alive.  A neighbor is now looking after the two that got out.

"My boys are loving it.  They're inside babysitting them right now," said Valentino.

30 firefighters responded to the house fire.  A crisis response team is helping the pets' owner cope.  Despite the loss of the six pets, firefighters consider this a successful firefight.  They were able to stop the flames from spreading to most of the home and no people were hurt.

Investigators are still looking into what caused the fire. 

The Red Cross is helping the man find a temporary place to live.
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