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Fire crews rescue 70 dogs and cats from house fire in Martinez

Fire crews rescue dozens of pets from house fire in Martinez
Fire crews rescue dozens of pets from house fire in Martinez 02:27

MARTINEZ (CBS SF) – A garage fire in Martinez on Tuesday morning forced local fire crews to rescue as many as 70 dogs and several cats from the blaze, according to fire officials.

The Contra Costa County Fire Protection District (CCCFPD) first tweeted at 11:25 a.m. that crews were battling a fire at a home on Barber Lane, requesting that residents avoid the area so they don't hamper access to the blaze.

By 11:51 a.m., the CCCFPD reported that crews successfully took down the fire. Only one of three human residents was injured and required attention, but first responders also realized that they had dozens of pets to deal with.

"There were dogs and a few cats everywhere when we arrived on scene," said Steve Hill, a spokesperson for the fire district.

According to fire officials, the fire started in the garage and spread upstairs.  

Less than an hour later, fire officials tweeted that with the help of animal control and local neighbors, all the animals were safely removed from the scene of the fire, but the three residents and the pets were displaced.

 "The amount of dogs that are here, it's incredible,"  said Victor Cervantes of National Response Team, who was called in to help board up and clean up the burned out home. "In 15 years, I've never seen this before, I've never seen so many dogs in my life period other than in shelters."

Firefighters said neighbors played a key role in helping to rescue the dogs and get them safely across the street, while crews got the fire under control. The neighbors, who did not want to go on camera, said they knew there were a lot of dogs in the home, but didn't know it totaled several dozen.

Some of the approximately 70 dogs saved from a house fire in Martinez on January 17, 2023. CBS

According to animal control officials, the dogs belonged to a licensed breeder and they didn't see any violations while on scene. They expect the dogs will be taken to San Luis Obispo County on the Central Coast, where the breeder is licensed.

It was unclear why the dogs were in Martinez.

Officials said Tuesday that the fire was not deemed suspicious.

Shawn Chitnis contributed to this report.

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