NEW KENSINGTON (KDKA) – Seven animals were killed in a New Kensington house fire Saturday morning.
The fire happened off the 7th Street extension near the 700 block of Baker Street.
Joe Scalise, the homeowner told KDKA, the fire broke out around 7:30 a.m. while he was out rabbit hunting with two of his beagles.
Scalise said he got a smoke alarm on his phone from his home security system.
He immediately called 911 and also called a neighbor to rescue his dogs but was unsuccessful.
“Hoping, praying that my neighbor got down there in time and everything would be good, it’s a lot worse than I anticipated,” Scalise said.
Firefighters said the blaze started in the basement, where flames were contained and they had it out within 30 minutes. While they were searching for hot-spots, firefighters said they found the dogs dead in the basement.
Scalise, who breeds beagles for a living, said a five-week-old litter of five, their mom and a nine-week-old pup are of those who perished. He said they were not burned and passed from smoke inhalation.
The homeowner said his 5-month-old German Shepherd was on the first floor of the home during the fire and was treated by first responders for smoke-related injuries.
The German Shepard survived and is staying with a neighbor.
The house is currently uninhabitable due to severe smoke damage to the home’s interior.
Scalise will be staying with loved ones until repairs can be made.
Scalise said he believes the blaze may have started from two wood burners he had running in his basement. Through speaking with fire marshals, Scalise said it appears some wooden cutting boards might have fallen onto the burners, potentially igniting this fire.
The homeowner has been unable to locate his Tabby Cat named “Jack” since the fire.