(INDIANAPOLIS) - Fifteen animals were killed in a fire at a house on Indianapolis' south side early Sunday morning.
The Indianapolis Fire Department was called to 43 Habig Road, just off Meridian Street, just after midnight.
When firefighters arrived, they found smoke pouring from the home.
Fire investigators said Peggy Davis, 64, had been asleep but heard her dogs barking loudly.
"When she awoke to find out the cause of the barking, she found smoke in the home," IFD Lt. Larry Tracy said in a news release.
Davis grabbed one cat, left the home and called 911, fire officials said.
"The other 11 dogs and four cats did not survive the fire," Tracy said. "IFD crews had to navigate through extreme storage and debris in the home to get to the seat of the fire."
Davis found it hard to put into words how she felt about what she lost.
"I don't do good with people sometimes, but with animals, as long as you feed them, they love you," Davis said.
Neighbors were shocked to learn just how many animals were living inside the home, but they described Davis as friendly and a good caretaker.
"As you get older and people are empty-nesters, their animals take on as their children," said neighbor Sharon Sandusky.
An animal care group loaded the deceased pets onto a trailer to be disposed of properly.
It took more than an hour for firefighters to get the fire under control and the cause of the fire is under investigation.
Damage to the home was estimated at $50,000.
The Red Cross is providing Davis with a place to stay for the time being.
Have a question or comment about a news story? Send it to email@example.com