Dozens evacuated after house fire in SE Fresno

FRESNO, Calif.

The fire broke out around 1:30 near Huntington on Woodrow. The blaze caused power lines to fall on a chain link fence and forced the evacuation of close to a dozen neighbors.

The fire started in the garage and neighbors say the residents were doing laundry at the time. A teenage boy who was inside when the fire broke out was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation. Several pets were saved, but unfortunately several cats and birds did not survive.

While firefighters contained the flames, a grey cat sat in the arms of its owner. Moments earlier, the lifeless feline was limp when crews brought it out of the home. Firefighters revived it using oxygen and constantly massaging it.

Three cats and a rabbit were saved, but several other animals including cats and birds died in the fire. Firefighters rescued the pets they could before, they too had to get out.

Terri Meiss said, "Most of the firefighters have animals themselves and we know how important they are, they are like family members so to us of course, our safety is first, the safety of our citizens is first and then we go in and help get those family members of theirs that are in there out."

Residents who live in 10 nearby homes had to leave their homes after live power lines fell on a chain link fence. Neighbors watched in their front yard as firefighters cooled hot spots. A wooden shake roof fueled the flames.

Veronica Sok lives right next door to the home that burned. She arrived from work to find her children and brothers evacuated from their home. "All I thought of was like her animals and stuff. I just got done talking to her yesterday. I know the neighbor is sick and she is she is pretty old. I don't know if she lives by herself. But it was pretty scary it was cause my kids, it was just right there. Their room is just right there."

Fire crews say the blaze started in the garage. The home sustained major damage from smoke and water. Investigators say the biggest concern for the residents and animals was not the flames, but the overwhelming smoke.

Right now fire investigators are working to determine what caused the fire. Five dogs who were in backyard also survived. Damages are also being tallied.

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