According to Fire Chief Tim Card, firefighters were called to Pat and Duane Fogo’s home at 652 Alameda Ave. just after 6:30 a.m. Monday.
They arrived to find fire in the basement and attic of the two-story home, Card said.
Card said the fire was too intense for firefighters to make entry to the house, and it needed to be battled from the outside. He said all of the home’s occupants — he believed there were four people — got out safely. However, three dogs — Korbin, Pixie and Leelu — that were in cages in the basement died.
Fire officials originally said the family had just four dogs in the home and one made it out alive. But Amy Hunt, president of Mutual Breed Rescue, a Lorain County all-volunteer dog rescue organization, said the Fogos were actually caring for eight canines, two of which were just rescued for a shelter a few days ago.
Four dogs made it out of the home OK. One is being treated after being found unconscious in the basement and three perished.
“They are devastated by the loss of the dogs,” Hunt said. “When Carrie (Graham who heads Pets ResQ) talked to (Pat Fogo), she was calm talking about how she lost all of her stuff, but just broke down in tears when she talked about losing the dogs. She is more upset about the dogs than everything else in her home.”
Hunt said the Fogos have worked with her organization for roughly a year. Pat Fogo also volunteers at the Lorain County Dog Kennel walking dogs.
“They are just passionate about dogs,” Hunt said. “They are good to their dogs. Their children are all grown, and those dogs are like their children now.”
Hunt said the animal rescue family is now hoping to get the Fogos back on their feet. The Lorain County Chapter of the American Red Cross has put them for the next three days in a hotel that will accept them with four dogs.
“We are trying to get them everything at this point,” Hunt said.
Hunt said her brother has a rental home the couple can use free of charge for 30 days, but they are in need of all home furnishings.
Hunt is organizing donations and has also set up a ChipIn donation page for the Fogo family. The page can be found at http://ambersrescuepets.chipin.com/help-pat-fogo-and-family. Hunt will also accept monetary donations made out to the Fogo family.
Small items can be dropped off at Hunt’s home at 10886 West Ridge Road. Hunt asked for those who have large items and furniture to email her at email@example.com.
Card said the fire was determined to have started in the basement, but an investigator has not yet finished his report on what a possible cause might be.
Card estimated damage at $100,000 to the home and $40,000 to its contents. The homeowners were not insured, he added.
Firefighters from Sheffield, Avon, Avon Lake, Sheffield Township and Elyria Township assisted Sheffield Lake.
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Contact Rona Proudfoot at 329-7124 or email@example.com.