Several pets missing after devastating Mesa house fire

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MESA, Ariz. – Several pets might have been killed when a huge fire ripped through a Mesa home early Friday morning.

Firefighters responded to a house in the neighborhood of University and Mesa drives at about 7 a.m.

A firefighter who lives down the street and happened to be outside working on his truck spotted the pillar of smoke just as the 911 calls started rolling in.

The fire call was escalated to a first-alarm, which means additional crews were sent to the scene. Relief firefighters were ready to rotate in as needed. That’s standard practice, especially during the hot spring and summer months.

Five people lived in the home. All of them were there when the fire started; all escaped unharmed. There were initial reports that one person had suffered possible smoke inhalation, but that turned out not to be the case.

While the people got out safely, it's not clear if all of the family's pets escaped. They had nine animals. One dog and three cats are still missing.

"We're still searching due to the smoke that's still in the house," said Chris Tiller of the Mesa Fire Department about two hours after the initial call.

According to the homeowner’s brother, the family had lived in the house for more than 30 years.

While the home was destroyed, firefighters were able to keep the fast-moving flames from spreading to adjacent homes.

It’s not known what sparked the fire, but based on how fast it burned, firefighters believe it might have started outside.

Fire investigators are trying to determine exactly what happened.