25 dogs die in two fires at same house

Oct. 7, 2009 at 8:54 PM
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RIVERSIDE, Calif., Oct. 7 (UPI) -- Firefighters in Riverside, Calif., said 25 dogs died in two separate fires within 12 hours at a house "bulging at the seams with stuff."

Firefighters were first called to the one-story house at 6:40 p.m. PDT Tuesday to put out a fire apparently caused by faulty wiring, the Los Angeles Times reported. When they got there, Division Chief John Martinez said, they had trouble moving around inside the house.

"They were faced with pack rat conditions," Martinez said. "It was bulging at the seams with stuff."

Firefighters were mopping up when they found the carcasses of 14 dogs in cages in a bedroom.

"(The dogs) were overcome by the smoke," Martinez said.

Firefighters returned to the house when the fire flared up again just after 4 a.m. Wednesday and found the bodies of 11 more dogs, killed by smoke inhalation.

"They were huddled in a back room," Martinez said.

The owner of the home, Frances Glionna, 57, was away at the time of the fire, her daughter, Melissa Breden, told The (Riverside) Press-Enterprise. Breden said the dogs had been Glionna's "pride and joy," and that she used to show them.

Riverside County Animal Services spokesman John Welsh told The Press-Enterprise the dogs had matted fur and the toenails on some of the animals were so long they were growing into the back of their paws.

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