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2 pets succumb in North Huntingdon house fire

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Sunday, July 6, 2014, 10:09 p.m.

At least two pets died and close to 20 were rescued from a North Huntingdon house that was damaged by a fire Sunday night while the owner was away from her home, officials said.

Sixteen pets were rescued from the house at 1910 Robbins Station Road and were transported to AVETS, an emergency veterinary care hospital in Monroeville, and Westmoreland County animal rescue and recovery organization was contacted to provide assistance, said Bill Sombo, first assistant fire chief of the Circleville fire department.

The cause of the fire that damaged Karen Sapochak's home remains under investigation, Sombo said. Several units from North Huntingdon and Irwin responded to the fire, which was reported at 7:54 p.m..

The house sustained smoke damage, which Sapochak said she believed killed at least one cat and one poodle. A lizard inside a cage was rescued and a Rescue 8 emergency medical technician provided oxygen inside an oxygen mask to a parakeet that was found in the basement, Sapochak said.

Sapochak said she was told that the fire began at the kitchen stove and she speculated that a cat turned on the burner of the gas stove.

Sapochak said she was shopping at the time of the fire and learned that the fire was at her house from firefighters providing traffic control.

“I'm not going to scream or yell (about the fire). I can face anything,” Sapochak said.

She said she would stay with her sister, Diane Marie Hewitt, who also lives in North Huntingdon.

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