Homeowner loses pets in candle-sparked house fire

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PHOENIX -- A frantic 911 call about a house fire brought Phoenix firefighters rushing to the rescue early Thursday morning.

According to Jorge Enriquez of the Phoenix Fire Department, a homeowner living in the area of 13th Street south of Dunlap Avenue made at least two 911 calls at about 5:45 a.m. The caller wasn't able to say much although she seemed to be frantic, Enriquez said. She apparently was running in and out of the house trying to save her pets.

Firefighters were immediately dispatched to the scene.

"When they showed up, they had a working fire, an obvious working fire," Enriquez explained.

Enriquez said firefighters pulled the woman out of the house, but she kept trying to go back in to get her pets.

"They had four or five dogs in there, three cats, a bird," he said. "Animals are like family members so she was very frantic, very hysterical."

Between the homeowner and fire crews, two birds, a dog and two puppies were rescued, but firefighters were not able to get to the other animals.

"We do everything we can … but in this case, it was unfortunate that we weren't able to save more of her pets," Enriquez said.

At least two cats died in the fire.

Video from the scene showed the woman holding the two puppies close to her chest.

The fire started in a room at the back of the house and moved into the attic.

"The whole house is pretty trashed," Enriquez said. "We're going to try to clean up as much as we can and see what we can salvage for her."

The woman, who lived alone with her animals, was not injured in the blaze. The fire department will be assisting her in finding a place to stay.

Investigators said a candle that had been left burning is to blame for the fire.