Dozens of dogs, cats die in Brevard County house fire

By Greg Pallone, Digital Media Producers, Team Coverage
Last Updated: Wednesday, January 11, 2017, 4:31 PM EST

Dozens of animals — including 45 cats, multiple dogs and a bird — died Wednesday morning in an house fire in Brevard County, according to fire officials.

  • 45 cats, 5 dogs, raccoon, bird die in house fire
  • First responders seen forming assembly line to pass animals to safety
  • 1 cat, 13 dogs survived

The fire broke out after 3 a.m. at a house on Kennwood Avenue in Merritt Island.

"It's horrible to hear, but it's horrible to watch," neighbor Susan Graham said.

The people inside the residence were able to get out safely, but firefighters were unable to save all the animals. The sounds of fire engines woke up Graham as the firefighters keyed in on her neighbor's home across the street.

Neighbors said an assembly line formed to pass dogs and cats to safety.

"I saw all the first responders giving the dogs oxygen and absolutely being heroic," Graham said.

A total of 45 cats, five dogs, a raccoon and a macaw were killed. Deputies said one cat and 13 dogs were rescued. Those animals were taken to the Sheriff's Office Animal Services facility for treatment and are expected to be OK.

"The owners love their animals. They are pretty distraught," said Cpl. Dave Jacobs of the Brevard Sheriff's Office. "But there's no mistaking that the conditions in this house is nothing less than deplorable."

Meanwhile, investigators said conditions inside the house were "deplorable" and deemed the house as unliveable.

Neighbors said they have complained about the situation at the home for a while. County officials arrived on the scene and put up signs deeming the house unliveable.

The Red Cross was called to assist the people who were living there.

"It's a large number of animals for one residence," Jacobs said. "Anytime animals fall victim to a fire, it's hard. It's sad to see it happen."

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.