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10 animals lost in fire that claimed southwest Abilene home

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ABILENE, Texas - You may have seen the smoke Monday afternoon--an Abilene family is out of their home after it caught fire in southwest Abilene.

They were all able to make it out, but they say several pets died in that fire.

Smoke and flames were shooting out of the home in the 6100 block of Hartford Street. Renay Jackson was just about to take a nap when she heard family members start yelling. Her first thought was for their animals.

"The first thing my daughter did was open the cage that the puppies were in and try to start shooing them out of the house, but as soon as she opened the bedroom door black smoke just flooded in," Jackson said.

Jackson said they were able to get nine animals out safely, but ten died in the fire. Many of them were rescues.

Two men passing by helped make sure all five people inside got out OK.

"I went in the back and went in the back door and this gentleman came in right behind me, and we got three more people out of there," said Rich Stokes.

Firefighters said the fire started on the front porch, and the home is a total loss. They said the metal roof made extinguishing the blaze especially difficult.

"You don't have that hole that burns out, and the fire and heat and smoke are escaping," said Lt. Mike Miller, with the Abilene Fire Department. "You have it all trapped inside, and instead of it going up and out it's going sideways and back into other parts of the house."

Jackson said even though they lost their home and so many beloved pets, she's trying to stay positive.

"You can't believe in God and have faith and think there's not something else planned out there," Jackson said. "Regardless of how bad it seems right now, it could have always been worse."

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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