Firefighters in Sacramento, Calif. rescued a menagerie of 14 dogs, four cats and five birds from a burning home in the North Highlands area.
Around 3:30 a.m. Thursday, the fire broke out in the garage of the home along I Street and 34th Street.
The owner lived alone in the home and said she was cooking an early morning snack when she went to the garage. She returned later to find flames in the garage. The fire spread to the attic, according to a statement from a Sacramento Metro Fire Department spokesperson.
Two of the dogs required oxygen, but one of the birds wasn’t able to make it out alive.
In the video posted by CBS 13 Sacramento, dogs could be seen with heads sticking out car windows, and there were photos of one of the dogs receiving oxygen from a firefighter.
The woman says she has lived in the home for 20 years.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
“It’s not uncommon for us to be on scene when we hear explosions,” said a spokesman for the fire department. “It could be a variety of things. It could be paint cans, anything along those lines. It looks like in the garage there was just a lot of debris, a lot of things packed in there. An arson investigator will get in to find that out.”
While the animals in this fire were extraordinarily lucky to be rescued and get medical care, this wasn’t even the most astonishing rescue of multiple pets from a fire in recent months.
In November in Edgewater, Florida, a woman said she was thankful to be alive when firefighters rescued her, two prairie dogs, five dogs, 30 birds and 10 cats from the burning home.
Nobody, human or animal, was injured, though Chambers was visibly upset in the video by WFTV.
Shirley Chambers got a call from her neighbor and rushed to her home around 3:30 p.m.
“She called me. It was all in flames. I was trying to move stuff around,” she said. “I just feel bad because that’s my life. Animals are my life. It’s what keeps me going.”
Firefighters had a hard time getting into the fire because of thick debris in and out of the home, which is what makes it all the more miraculous that the dozens of animals were able to be rescued.
“We reported 20 initially. We ended up with much more than that,” said Chief Stephen Chambers of the Edgewater Fire Department.
“They couldn’t walk in a straight line so stretching hose lines in, having debris and cages falling on them and other material, extremely difficult for us,” said Stephen Chambers.
Photos of Shirley Chambers and a relative showed them joyfully embracing the animals that had been rescued, and firefighters carrying out dogs, cats and birds two by two.
Shirley Chambers said she’s fallen on hard times and described how difficult it had been to clean up the house and care for the animals.
“When you can’t move your arm for almost two months, waiting on surgery, you’re helping your mom and you helped a lady over here for year and a half it’s hard to do everything,” she said.
Chambers may face several fines for keeping that number of animals at the home, since it violates several ordinances. For now, though, both she and the fire department are just thankful the entire colorful menagerie is safe and sound.