Florida Woman Escapes Fire, 20 Birds Die

A Sanford woman lost more than a dozen pets when her house went up in flames Thursday. The fire started inside the house on Monroe Harbor Place. She made it out okay, but is grieving for her animals. Inside the home, all 20 parakeets that belonged to the woman died.

Joanne Bennett sat on the curb safe but distraught, dealing with a loss Thursday.

"I'm sad because they were fun and they made me laugh," she said.

Joanne said the fire started in her waterbed heater.

"I got home and there was a lot of smoke and I heard the smoke alarm," she explained.

Firefighters said, even though the fire started in the bedroom and the birds were in the kitchen, the heavy smoke made it hard for the birds to even have a fighting chance at survival.

Two other pets did survive. Joanne's cat was already outside and her dog escaped with her.

Seminole County firefighters said, even though saving a human life is first priority, it's also important for them to make an extra effort to save pets.

"We know family pets are very important to homeowners. We have crews carrying masks and utilize them if necessary," said Lt. Paula Ritchey, Seminole County Fire and Rescue.

The Red Cross is assisting Joanne and her kids until they can move back in.

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