CLIFTON - Ten dogs died as firefighters battled a fire at a house in Clifton, which was also the site of a pet-sitting service.
The fire broke out just before 1 p.m. Tuesday in the rear of a home at 176 Mountain View Drive. An Internet search revealed the business as Your Family Pet Sitters.
Flames and heavy smoke could be seen coming from the roof of the home when first responders arrived.
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Deputy Fire Chief Norman Tahan says the homeowner was not home when the fire began. When she came home, she says she found the house on fire and the animals trapped inside the house. "She opened the rear door not knowing there was so much fire and two dogs ran out," he says. "That's when the fire erupted."
The woman was only able to save those two dogs. The rest were found dead in several spots in the home, according to firefighters. Tahan says this was a fast moving fire and his men had little chance to save the home or the pets inside. "Several times we had to pull everybody out because of collapse danger."
A man believed to live in the house told reporters he is devastated by the loss of the home and the pets. "I sleep with my wife and my child and two dogs in the bed," he says. "And those dogs aren't even mine and I love them."
Three other cats and one dog remain missing.
Two Clifton firefighters were taken to a hospital and treated for heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation, according to fire officials.
The deputy chief says the home is believed to be a total loss. The fire is believed to have started in the back of the house, near where the kitchen is located.