Police: At least 13 dogs dead following house fire in Chandler

A house fire in Chandler has reportedly led to the removal of dozens of animals from the home.

The fire happened in a residential neighborhood near Elliot and Alma School Roads. According to officials with Chandler Police, 40 dogs were found inside the home, and at least 13 did not survive.

The home owner was not at home at the time of the fire.

"It just makes me said," said Michelle Aubuchond, who lives in the area.

Dogs inside presented challenges

Chandler Fire Battalion Chief Jason White said fire, along with the dogs inside, presented challenges to fire crews.

"That just really changed the dynamics of the fire," said White. "In addition to what they found and suppressing the fire and getting control of it, we had numerous amounts of dogs running around that we had to get out and provide treatment for."

Home was reportedly used as dog shelter

According to fire officials, the home was used as a dog shelter, and a friend of the owner tells FOX 10 the rescue organization is called Cruz's Crusaders.

"The lady across the street opened up her backyard, front yard to the care of these animals, and she actually kept seven of them in the backyard for a while. Three in her front yard, but in a kennel," said Aubuchond.

People living in the neighborhood aren't sure how the fire happened, but they are shocked at the discovery, and how so many dogs are confined.

"So the dog had no chance to go into another room and no chance to get out of the house. Possibly they were just stuck in kennels," said Aubuchond.

Nathan Driffil, who also lives in the area, said he has only seen a few of the dogs come out of the house before Friday, never thinking dozens could be inside.

"I bet she had all the good intention to take the dogs in, but just took on too much, I imagine," said Driffil.

"Not really knowing her, I can tell that she's an animal lover, but she just, unfortunately, went about it the wrong way," said Aubuchond.

Chandler Police officials also say an investigation is underway. We did see the owner of the rescue leave as the scene cleared out, but she did not want to comment on the incident.

(Click here for interactive map)

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