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Longview house fire kills pets, destroys home

By Angela Ward
Jan. 2, 2012 at 11 p.m.

An early morning house fire on Monday destroyed a Longview woman's home and caused the death of several pets, Assistant Longview Fire Chief Curtis Shaw said.

The fire started about 6 a.m. at a home in the 300 block of Berkley Street. Five engines responded and the fire was extinguished after about 20 minutes, Shaw said.

"Everybody was out when we arrived," he said. "There were no injuries to residents of the structure or firefighters. Unfortunately, they hadn't been able to rescue all their pets, most of which perished in the fire."

The structure had significant damage and has been declared uninhabitable by the fire department, he said.

"The fire seems to have been started by a space heater.

Apparently they had some clothing and other items too close to the heater and that caused the fire to ignite," Shaw said.

Sherry Lanahan lives in the house, which she was renting, but hoped to eventually purchase. She said she and a friend were in the house when it caught fire.

"We were able to get one of my dogs out, but my cat and the other four dogs - a mother dog and her three puppies - we couldn't get to in time," Lanahan said, her voice breaking into sobs.

Lanahan said she is a recovering drug addict who has recently turned her life around and is trying to make a fresh start.

"A lot of the problems I've had in my life have been my own fault, I admit that," she said. "But it just seems so unfair that something like this would happen when I'm really trying to lead a clean and sober life."

Lanahan said she would be contacting the American Red Cross about assistance while she tries to rebuild her life.



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