BRADENTON -- Two cats were revived with pet oxygen masks after one side of a duplex caught fire at 5:48 p.m. Thursday, according to the Southern Manatee Fire Rescue.
The fire started in the kitchen at 5719 Seventh St. E. duplex B, Bradenton, while a tenants was cooking, according to Southern Manatee Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Ricardo Blanco.
"He had a grease fire get out of control," Blanco said.
The fire spread quickly to the back of the home with smoke billowing from all sides. The fire was extinguished quickly, too, Blanco said, but not before it displaced all duplex residents. Electric wiring was damaged but no injuries were reported.
Two Southern Manatee fire trucks and one Cedar Hammock Fire Rescue truck worked on scene as neighbors watched. Manatee County Animal Services also arrived for veterinary assistance.
Blanco said firefighters were told people and pets were in the home. "What they were trying to do is rescue some of their animals. They have a lot of pets in the house: two dogs, a snake and about four cats," he said. "The tenant was lingering back in the home, trying to rescue the animals and he did get them all out -- but two of the animals actually ran back into the dwelling -- cats." The other cats disappeared, he said.
The cats who ran back into the home were retrieved and revived with pet oxygen masks.
Coincidentally, just hours earlier, the Bradenton Fire Department received a donation of three pet oxygen masks from the Invisible Fence of the Gulf Coast.
Alfred Lunn, who shares the duplex with his grandson and three other adults, said he was preparing meatballs. He stepped into the living room and the lid was rattling when he returned. He lifted the lid and the contents flared up, he said.
"I'm feeling alright," he said, "other than I'm feeling sorry for our landlord."
Amaris Castillo, law enforcement/island reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7051. Follow her on Twitter@AmarisCastillo.