Columbus firefighters rescue 18 pets from Thursday night house fire

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COLUMBUS, Ind. (February 26, 2016) – A Columbus family and their eighteen pets are displaced after a fire Thursday night.

Columbus firefighters responded to the 2100 block of Park Avenue in East Columbus around 9 p.m.

When they arrived on scene, crews found fire and smoke coming from the windows of a single-family home.

While firefighters were searching the home for residents possibly trapped inside, crews say they began to locate multiple pets. Crews say they found eight kittens, eight adult cats and three dogs during their search.

As crews began to remove the animals from the home, firefighters found one of the adult cats had died and another was suffering from extreme smoke inhalation.

Fire crews were able to provide oxygen to two adult cats rescued from the home using specially designed pet oxygen masks.

According to fire officials, a Columbus based non-profit animal welfare group called C.A.R.E., Inc. provided all Bartholomew County fire departments with pet oxygen masks to help rescue pets during serious fires.

The incident commander on scene says the damage from the fire was isolated to the living room, but smoke damage was extensive throughout the home.

Columbus Fire Department Investigator Matt Noblitt has ruled the fire as accidental, caused by overloading of an electrical power strip.  According to Noblitt, no working smoke alarms were discovered in the home. Damages to the home are estimated a $30,000.

Officials say three dogs, eight kittens and seven adult cats survived the fire, and all eighteen pets were reunited with their owners shortly after the fire was extinguished. One adult cat died at the scene and one kitten is missing, making the total number of pets inside the home twenty.

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