An animal lover was hurt in a Dix Hills fire Monday and one of her cats was found dead as firefighters rescued five other pets with the help of a thermal imaging camera, fire officials said.
The homeowner, covered in soot, was taken to Stony Brook University Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation and minor burns, Dix Hills Fire Chief Thomas Napolitano said.
“She was very concerned about the animals,” the chief said. “She really didn’t care about the house. It was ‘Get my animals. Get my animals.’ ”
When the flames started about 11:15 a.m. in the kitchen area of a Seneca Avenue home, the owner at first tried to put it out herself, Napolitano said.
The smoke had gotten so thick that visibility was a challenge as firefighters made their way in, the chief said. The blaze was primarily contained in the kitchen by some 60 firefighters and emergency medical personnel from Dix Hills, Commack, Deer Park, Melville and Greenlawn departments, officials said.
“They got the fire out quickly, so that enabled them to stop the smoke from building,” said Napolitano, lauding firefighters for a “great job.” “As the visibility increased, they used the thermal imaging camera.”
Three dogs were found in crates in the kitchen, the chief said, and two cats were located in another room on a couch, one of them dead. A third cat was in a crate in a bedroom.
The surviving pets were given oxygen through animal-sized masks with the help of a Melville Fire Department volunteer who happened to be a veterinary technician and the Dix Hills Rescue Squad, fire officials said. Dix Hills firefighters took the two cats, who had burns and smoke inhalation, to the Animal Emergency Service hospital in Commack, authorities said. The pets were expected to recover.
The homeowner has a farm and a barn behind her house, where she keeps other animals, including horses, a rabbit, roosters, ducks and goats, Napolitano said. They were not hurt, he said.
“According to the neighbor,” the fire chief said, “she doesn’t have any kids and these are her kids.”
Arson detectives deemed the fire accidental.
The homeowner told him she was not cooking at the time, Napolitano said.
“I said to her, what were you doing?” the chief said. “She goes, ‘I don’t know. The stove was off and then there was fire on the stove.’ ”