One woman, two birds and several dogs and cats escaped a fire at a Newtonville Avenue home Tuesday evening, but several cats are still missing.
Firefighters responded to 393 Newtonville Ave. at about 6 p.m. after homeowner Melanie Ross reported a fire in her basement.
“I was reading in the living room and the smoke detector went off, and I saw smoke coming up from the basement,” Ross said.
Assistant Fire Chief Bruce Proia said all Newton jakes responded to the three-alarm fire, which needed extra men because of the hot evening air combining with the blaze to dehydrate firefighters.
“The heat was taking its toll,” Proia said.
He said firefighters were still investigating the cause of the blaze, but knew it started in the basement and moved to the first floor, causing smoke damage throughout the house. Proia said the house was not livable now, but would not be a total loss. Besides Ross and her husband, three tenants live in three apartments in the building.
Firefighters rescued a dog and several cats, along with upstairs tenant Vera Rubin’s cockatiels, Izia and Zelda, who sat in their cage on the front lawn while firefighters went through the house.
Jakes were initially searching for Rubin’s terrier Lucy, unaware that she had taken the dog with her out of the house. She came home after the fire was extinguished and was impressed with the firefighters’ efforts to find her dog.
“They were tearing out walls … all because of you, Lucy!” she said, cuddling the terrier.