SAN DIEGO -- At least four dogs were killed and several others rescued after a residential fire broke out in Lakeside Sunday, authorities said.
The San Diego County Sheriff's Department learned of smoke inside a residence along the 8700 block of Winter Gardens Boulevard just after 3 a.m. Sunday morning.
The agency's bomb and arson unit was sent to the scene, spokesperson Lt. Cliff Rinder said.
At 3:55 a.m., the fire continued to burn and the sheriff's department learned of dogs possibly trapped in the residence.
"We do know that what we have so far is three live dogs that were taken from the fire [and] four deceased dogs taken from the fire," said Lakeside Fire Division Chief Bernie Molloy. "At least one is unknown where that dog is at this point."
A sign outside identified the building as "Carter's Kennels."
"The residence used to be a kennel," Molloy acknowledged. "We were under the impression it was not an operating kennel, but there's several dogs here, so they're still operating at some capacity."
Neighbors told FOX 5 the owner has been at the location for decades.
"I hate to see an animal die in something like that," said neighbor Earl Chenowth. "I mean, you hate to see a person die of smoke inhalation, much less a pet."
Chenowth said he woke up around 3:30 a.m. Sunday morning to the lights of the fire trucks. "They were trying to get in there and stop the flames," Chenowth said. "They had hoses going through the front door."
California Highway Patrol and Lakeside Fire Department also responded to the scene. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.