COLUMBUS, Ind. (WISH) — A fire in Columbus Thursday night forced a local family from their home.
It happened in the 2100 block of Park Avenue in East Columbus. Firefighters were dispatched around 9 p.m. and were told people might still be inside the home.
Firefighters arrived and found flames and smoke coming from the windows. A man who was inside the home when the fire started told firefighters that everyone made it out OK, but that pets were still inside, including several kittens.
Firefighters discovered eight kittens, eight adult cats and three dogs. They said one adult cat died and another cat was in respiratory distress. They used a specially designed pet oxygen mask to help the animal and then to another cat removed from the house.
The homeowner told fire investigators that he wasn’t home when the fire started. His son discovered the fire and tried to rescue the pets, but smoke forced him from the home. He was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.
Due to damage, the family was displaced from the home. The fire was ruled accidental, caused by overloading of an electrical power strip. There were no working smoke alarms in the home, officials said, and damages are estimated at $30,000.
All eighteen pets were reunited with the owners shortly after the fire was extinguished. One adult cat died and one kitten is missing. This makes the total number of pets inside the home 20, according to officials.