A fire in a duplex on East Main Street displaced two families and killed five pets Tuesday, according to Hall County Fire officials.
Hall County Fire Chief David Kimbrell said firefighters responded to the 1,600-square-foot duplex in the New Holland area within four minutes of receiving the call.
Heavy smoke and fire could be seen from the house upon the firefighters’ arrival, he said. Five people lived in the two apartments in the home, Kimbrell said. Residents of one apartment were home at the time of the fire, but officials believe the fire started in the kitchen area of the other apartment, Kimbrell said.
Though no cause has been determined, Kimbrell said the fire appears accidental. He estimated damages on the $140,000 duplex at about $40,000.
No one was injured, but five pets were found dead in a kennel inside the duplex.
One way to protect pets from fire is to purchase a sticker that lets firefighters know how many animals are inside the house and keep the information current, said Rick Aiken, president of the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia. It might also be important to tell which room of the house the pet is usually in, Aiken said.
"That way, they’ll know what to look for," Aiken said. "...Sometimes, people don’t keep it updated. You want to note if anything changes on there, because you don’t want the fireman risking his safety looking for an animal, and that animal is no longer there."
In most cases, pets are at the mercy of the fire and the ability of firefighters to find them, Aiken said.
"The best thing we have found is identification on the windows," he said.
The American Red Cross has been called to assist both families, Kimbrell said.