19 animals rescued in Imperial Beach house fire

IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. -- Nineteen animals were rescued Friday after a house fire broke out in the Imperial Beach area, authorities said.

The Imperial Beach Fire Department and the San Diego Fire Department responded to a house fire at 1244 Florida Street in Imperial Beach at about 6:30 a.m. Friday. The residents weren't home at the time the fire broke out, but several animals were found inside.

The San Diego Humane Society was called to the house at about 7:20 a.m. to assess the condition of the animals. A San Diego Humane Society spokesperson said two humane officers went to the house and found two ferrets, two chinchillas, five gerbils and five hedgehogs inside, all of which appeared to be unharmed by the fire. Five dogs were also in the house at the time the fire started and had been reunited with their owners when the Humane Society officers arrived.

The Humane Society spokesperson said all of the animals will be reunited with their owners once their health and well-being has been assessed by Humane Society officers.

Firefighters did not say how the fire started but said they were able to douse the flames quickly. Structural damage was limited to the house that caught fire and did not spread to other buildings in the area.

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