Sixteen dogs die, one survives north side house fire

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A family of four escaped an early morning house fire Wednesday, but 16 of their dogs died of smoke inhalation. Only one dog survived the fire in the 1200 block of West 35th Street.

Sarah Fulford told firefighters she put clothes in the dryer and went to bed early Wednesday morning.  Two hours later, she heard her smoke detectors activate and found the house filled with smoke at knee level.  

She grabbed her three children and left the house.  Firefighters arrived shortly after 1:00 a.m. and began to fight the fire and try to rescue the animals. 

Thirteen puppies, their mother, and two other adult dogs died. Only one of the dogs, a pit bull who fathered the litter of puppies, was resuscitated utilizing the Project Breathe mask and high flow oxygen.  Firefighters needed about 20 minutes to revive the dog, which appeared to be recovering at the scene, according to IFD Captain Rita Burris. 

Fulford and fire investigators believe the fire started in the laundry room, although it is unclear whether the dryer started the fire. 

Damage is estimated at $15,000. The family has no insurance and will stay with relatives.

October is Fire Prevention Month, and the Indianapolis Fire Department would like to encourage all residents to check their smoke detector and ensure it is in good working order.