Firefighters Rescue 34 Dogs From Burning Home: 'It Was an Endless Chain of Dogs'
Almost three dozen dogs were rescued from a burning Florida home in what fire officials are calling a "once in a career" experience.
The Broward Sheriff's Fire Rescue were called to a Dania Beach house fire in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday night, WSVN reported.
"There was heavy fire in one room on the side of the house, heavy smoke throughout," public information officer Mike Jachles, who was on the scene, told InsideEdition.com.
The residents were not home at the time but as firefighters entered the house, they saw several dogs running toward them to escape the fire, Jachles said.
"As they went inside, they found more dogs -- many unconscious and unresponsive," he told IE.com. "There were dogs everywhere in the house. They were still finding dogs an hour and a half or so (into the rescue)."
"It was like an endless chain of dogs," Jachles said. "It was pretty bizarre. Any of us that were at the scene last night have never seen anything like this."
As the dogs were brought out of the burning house, firefighters kept the animals together by putting some in cages, tying some to trees and housing others in the fire rescue truck.
The dogs were treated according to severity, Jachles said. Officers cooled them down with water, even though none suffered from heat stroke or dehydration, he said.
Some dogs needed to be resuscitated, and some were given oxygen.
Jachles said that each fire truck has a special pet oxygen mask for incidents like this, but because there were so many dogs on the scene, some dogs were given adult and children oxygen masks.
Five of the 34 dogs rescued were in critical condition, and nine were transported in the rescue truck to a local veterinary hospital.
"It's not what we usually do, but given the circumstances, and they're living creatures, we provided them with care," Jachles told IE.com
One of the dogs died in the fire.
"Considering we had 34 dogs in a house filled with fire and full of smoke, that only one dog perished," Jachles said, "that was pretty remarkable."
Veterinarians that arrived on the scene said the animals appeared to be in good condition.
Broward County's Animal Care and Adoption Division representative Lisa Mendheim told IE.com that the county does not have any limits to the number of pets living in one residence.
"We are familiar with [the owner], who is a rescue, and we have seen all of these dogs before. They are well cared for," Mendheim told IE.com. "Any of them that were in need of medical services were under veterinary care, so there is no issue of cruelty."
Jachles and a veterinarian on scene agreed that all the dogs had been well cared for previous to the fire.
"It's not like there was any evidence of neglect or abuse," he said.
Fire officials said it is unclear what caused the fire, and the owner is in the process of surrendering some of the pups to animal rescue.
As for the dogs, Jachles said the fire department is looking into bringing their own fire rescue dog to visit those that were injured.