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Pet sitter's home catches fire (w/video)

By Sara Sneath
May 15, 2014 at 12:15 a.m.

Patrick Becker, paramedic engineer, left, carries a cat from the scene of a fire where it was rescued in the 1700 block of North Vine Street in Victoria. Homeowner Heidi Uresti-Sanchez, right, accompanied them.

Victoria's "fairy dog mother" experienced her worst nightmare Thursday when a fire broke out in her home.

Heidi Uresti-Sanchez, a professional pet sitter, was not at home when the fire began. After being called, she rushed home to find Victoria firefighters administering oxygen to four dogs and a cat in front of her house in the 1700 block of North Vine Street.

Firefighters could not resuscitate one black house cat named Ben. The cat that died belonged to Uresti-Sanchez's family.

No humans were injured in the house fire.

Uresti-Sanchez's neighbor, Rachel Trevino, was alerted to the fire when a passer-by knocked on her door.

"She said, 'I think your neighbor's house is on fire,'" Trevino said.

Trevino called 911 and Uresti-Sanchez to notify them of the fire at 9:20 a.m. Uresti-Sanchez told Trevino there were animals in the home.

"She said get in there," Trevino said.

Together, Trevino and the passer-by broke the front windows of the home in an attempt to save the animals.

The fire department arrived shortly afterward, Trevino said.

Trevino described Uresti-Sanchez as "the truest of animal lovers."

Shaken at the scene, Uresti-Sanchez declined to comment Thursday.

The fire department found four dogs and two cats in the home, Assistant Chief Tracy Fox said. In addition to the cat that died, firefighters think a seventh animal escaped out the back of the house.

"My heart truly goes out to them," said Erin Hatley, a family friend and client of Uresti-Sanchez. "They're just a sweet, sweet, giving family that would literally drop anything for anybody else."

Uresti-Sanchez refers to the pets in her care as her "furbabies," Hatley said. And close friends of Uresti-Sanchez call her "the fairy dog mother."

Firefighters administered oxygen to the cats and dogs with special masks designed for pets.

No visible flames were present when the fire department arrived. It appeared the fire began in the kitchen area. Damage to the home and the cause of the fire have not yet been determined, Fox said.



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