5 dogs die in St. Paul house fire

Published 10:14 am Monday, May 12, 2014

ST. PAUL — A woman escaped a St. Paul fire because she was small enough to fit through a basement window, but five dogs were not as lucky.

Fire crews arrived at about 10 a.m. Sunday and found a 22-year-old woman had escaped, Fire Marshal Steve Zaccard tells the Pioneer Press. Five Chihuahuas died but rescuers were able to resuscitate a sixth.

The basement where the woman was sleeping lacked a large enough window to meet fire code.

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“She was nearly killed by this fire,” Zaccard said. “She was only able to get out because she was tiny, young and able-bodied enough. We nearly had our third fire fatality in St. Paul this year.”

The woman, who had just moved home after graduating college, was alone in the house when a smoke alarm woke her, Zaccard said.

St. Paul fire investigator Jamie Novak cited an improperly extinguished hookah, or water pipe, as the fire’s cause. The homeowner’s 17-year-old nephew had been smoking it before he left for church that morning, he said.