Family, pets escape fire at Phoenix home

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- A Phoenix family is fortunate to still have all of their closest companions after flames tore through their Valley home.

Gary Mitchell said he and his wife were able to save their more than 20 chihuahuas as well as their pet monkey before a fire destroyed their house Thursday night.

“All of them are fine, we have every one of them, they are super,” said Mitchell.

Mitchell’s marmoset Jewel is a particularly important member of the family, because she’s actually a service animal.

“I get hypertension and she helps me calm down and keep my blood pressure down, so she’s a good help,” Mitchell explained.

Firefighters believe the fire started in the home’s attic, but Mitchell said his wood burning stove might be to blame.

While their house was completely ruined, Mitchell said he’s just happy that none of his loved ones were hurt.

“Like I say we got everybody out and everything’s good,” he remarked.

Mitchell, his wife, and their large collection of animals are staying with friends, while firefighters continue to investigate the cause of the blaze.