The corner of Brockington Cres. looked more like a scene from Dr. Dolittle, than a house fire on Tuesday afternoon.
Caged reptiles, birds and dogs were sprawled across Stacey Brickman’s neighbour’s lawn as she watched fire crews salvage what was left of her home after a grease fire broke out in her kitchen.
Stacey’s daughter, Brianna Brickman, 19, and boyfriend Dylan, 21, were taken to hospital after her family tried to save all of their animals from their home at 90 Brockington Cres.
“My kids … oh my gosh … the firefighters said they were coming in through the front and the kids were running in through the back to take the animals out,” she said with a parrot squawking behind her.
Thirteen different animals and reptiles were rescued. In total, three snakes, four birds (two died), four dogs, one cat, one African bullfrog, two rats (one died) and two bearded dragons.
One dog, one cat and two lizards were given oxygen by paramedics via animal resuscitation equipment.
“We have machines that pumps oxygen back into it,” said Ottawa Fire district chief Ross Saunders. “The mask goes onto the face of the lizard or dog and it gives them air. All the trucks have them.”
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Brickman said amongst their mini-zoo, six people live in what would have been cozy quarters.
Her husband, who wouldn’t be named, two children Brittan and Brianna, Brianna’s boyfriend Dylan and Danny Gordon who’s renting a room, all resided in the home for 18 years.
“It’s a full house,” she said, trying to crack a smile.
No. 1 priority
Gordon was treated by paramedics for smoke inhalation with Brittan and said his number one priority was their pets.
“They kept asking me if I wanted to go to the hospital and I was like, ‘No. I’m taken care of,'” he said.
One of Gordon’s pet rats was killed in the fire, his other rat, Spaz, was badly burned.
“It was so hot in there, the water bottle melted in the cage,” he said.
Gordon said he and Brittan ran in through the back of the house to save their pets.
“We were trying to get whatever we could. Man it was oil smoke, so it was just pure black … you couldn’t see anything.
“We had to save the animals … we can’t let the animals suffer for our mistakes,” he said, tearing up in the process.
Fire crews were called to the house at 1:22 p.m. and within 19 minutes they had doused the blaze.
Saunders said his crew was caught off guard and weren’t expecting to deal with snakes when they entered the home.
“We didn’t know if they were poisonous at first,” said Saunders. “There was a lot of confusion at the start.”
Saunders added the fire originated in the kitchen and more than $100,000 in damages are estimated.
Late Tuesday, Ottawa fire spokesman Bob Rainboth confirmed investigators have ruled the blaze accidental, due to cooking.