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4 people escape, 3 cats rescued from burning Columbus duplex

4 people, 3 cats rescued from burning duplex

COLUMBUS, Ind. (WISH) — Four people safely escaped a duplex fire in Columbus Wednesday night as firefighters battled the flames, rescuing three cats.

Columbus firefighters were called to the 1000 block of 8th Street after a fire broke out in a two-unit duplex rental property just before 7 p.m. Fire crews reported seeing heavy smoke coming from behind the duplex.

Police told firefighters that everyone was out of the apartment.

As additional crews arrived on the scene, firefighters began to prepare to make a forced entry through a locked backdoor. Officals say flames were visible through the roof.

According to a release, a “smoke explosion” occurred as the firefighters entered the home. No one was injured.

As they got deeper into the home, they found heavy fire in the home’s bathroom. Three cats were located in the smoke-filled apartment next door and were removed. Cats were provided oxygen therapy by an emergency medical ambulance at the scene.

Firefighters brought the blaze under control within 20 minutes and spent the next hour and a half to find and extinguish hot spots within the heavily damaged building.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Due to the damage sustained in each apartment, the Columbus Fire Department contacted the American Red Cross, which provided emergency shelter assistance to the families involved. No injuries were reported at the scene. Damage is estimated at over $60,000.