Family loses two dogs in Windermere house fire

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. —

Investigators from the state Fire Marshal's Office are trying to determine what caused a Windermere home to go up in flames Monday morning, killing two dogs.

According to firefighters, flames spread quickly through the large home.

No one was home at the time of the fire. A neighbor notified homeowners Kevin and Patty O'Keefe that their house was on fire.

"Our neighbor John called and I didn't take the call at first because I was busy. He kept calling, so finally I answered," said Kevin O'Keefe.

The O'Keefes, who have lived in the house for 15 years, were at work when the fire broke out.

"What's it like to get that call that your home is on fire?" Channel 9 reporter Stephanie Bertini asked the O'Keefes.

"I didn't believe it," said Kevin O'Keefe.

 "It sends you into a horrendous panic," said Patty O'Keefe.

Shortly after arriving on the scene of their burning house, the O'Keefes learned that their dogs, Captain Morgan and Ellie Mae, didn't survive the fire.

"To see your babies inside and you're not allowed to go in and save them," said Patty O'Keefe.

Fire officials said the fire started at the rear of the house. They praised firefighters for the effort in extinguishing the blaze.

"It is one of those hot, humid days. The crews did a tremendous job. That home is about 3,000 square feet. With it already burning, the fire had made pretty good headway," said Orange County Fire Battalion Chief Keith Watts.