Woman loses everything in fire except animals - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Woman loses everything in fire except animals

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Investigators say they may never know what caused an Effingham County home to catch on fire Monday night. More than two dozen animals were rescued from a burning house on Old Dixie Highway but at least four dogs died. 

Investigators say there was so much stuff inside the home and since the roof collapsed, it will be very hard to determine a cause but they do not believe it was suspicious.

The owner Suzanne Collier say she came home Monday night and realized her kitchen was on fire. She was able to get some of her cats and dogs out of the house but not all of them.

Four different fire departments were dousing water on this house to get it under control even taking water from the pond across the street. They also were trying to save as many of the animals as they could before the house finally collapsed.

"Those animals are like their children and so when we determined there were no other people in that house, we're going to try to save these lady's animals," said ESCO Spokesperson David Ehsanipoor.

Investigators say the house is a total loss. A house boat was donated by a friend for Collier to use as shelter.  She plans to move in as soon as possible to continue caring for her cats and dogs.

"I don't know how I'll survive when reality kicks in, I'm going to be one scared puppy but right now, I don't feel any fear," said Collier.  

Collier says it hasn't really hit her. Less than twenty four hours ago, fire burned down her house.

"There was smoke coming out from one of the kitchen doors, it was not in flames then, it was just in smoke," said Collier.  

She says she immediately tried to get as many of her dogs and cats out of the house. The animal lover says over the years dozens of homeless and abused animals have taken refuge at her home. She works with the animal control to make sure she cares for them properly.

 "I'm not going to say I'm glad my house burned but I will say I'm much more grateful we got the animals out," said Collier.  

Fire fighters and deputies were able to save more than two dozen animals. Collier says at least four dogs and a few cats remain unaccounted for. They either didn't make it or they ran off but she's thankful for all the ones firefighters rescued.

"They really went out of their way to help me rescue these animals," said Collier.  

Collier says she will continue caring for her animals in the place they've always called home.

"They will be living in their home before nightfall tonight is what we are working for."

She says she is so thankful for all the support. In addition to the house boat house, there are some folks who are building a fence to house most of the animals. There is also a fund set up in her name because she didn't have insurance.

For more information log onto: http://www.gofundme.com/a5yrbo

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