MERRITT ISLAND, Fla. - Dozens of animals were killed early Wednesday in a house fire in the 400 block of Kennwood Avenue in Merritt Island, Brevard County Fire Rescue said.
The fire was reported early Wednesday and investigators believe it started in a small bedroom.
Firefighters responded to the blaze but their efforts to rescue the occupants and the animals inside was hampered by multiple boarded windows and locked doors, fire rescue said.
Two people were in the house with 46 cats, 18 dogs, a bird and a raccoon when the fire started, officials said.
One cat and 13 dogs survived the fire, they said.
The surviving animals were taken from the property by Brevard County Animal Services and an animal cruelty investigator responded to the scene.
It is too early in the investigation to say if any charges will be filed, the Brevard County Sheriff's Office said.
“Our animal cruelty investigator is definitely looking at all aspects, and what charges may apply,” said Cpt. Dave Jacobs of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office.
Channel 9 found out there was an anonymous complaint about the home last month about seven dogs in the home and the yard’s foul odor.
Deputies said the animal owners are distraught over their loss.
A neighbor who witnessed firefighters responding to the blaze said emergency personnel worked hard to keep as many animals alive as possible.
"There were about six firemen and they had all the oxygen, and were giving all the dogs oxygen -- petting them, loving them, talking to them -- it was a sight to see," she said. "Then I saw one (firefighter) giving a grey (dog) CPR ... and it came back to life."
The home’s occupants were able to escape without major injuries and some of the animals were rescued.
"It's just sad all the way around," the neighbor said, holding back tears. "We didn't know there were so many and I don't know why there were so many."
The cause of fire remains unknown.
Code enforcement officials plan to follow-up with the investigation Thursday.
**STRUCTURE FIRE**400 blk Kennwood Av. Merritt Isl. Working fire. BCFR E43's first due. D40 has command.— BCFRpio (@BCFRpio) January 11, 2017
Water on the fire, power secured to structure.— BCFRpio (@BCFRpio) January 11, 2017
Multiple animals removed from home, BC Animal Services requested. FF efforts hampered by multiple boarded windows and locked doors, pets— BCFRpio (@BCFRpio) January 11, 2017
Small fire in a bedroom, Unk cause of fire or number of pets or occupants in home.— BCFRpio (@BCFRpio) January 11, 2017
Red Cross called out to assist the two occupants of the home. Fire out, overhauling in progress— BCFRpio (@BCFRpio) January 11, 2017
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