Fire captain: 2 dead after Johnson City house fire, multiple animals rescued

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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Two people are dead following a house fire in Johnson City Thursday.

Firefighters are battling the fire in the 300 block of Woodlyn Road in Johnson City.

The two victims are reportedly elderly and mother and daughter, according to fire crews.

Captain Wendell Loving of the Watauga Volunteer Fire Department told News Channel 11 that two women have been pronounced dead following the fire.

An adult with special needs got out of the burning home and called for help, according to Loving.

Loving said the majority of the fire was extinguished within 15-20 minutes of firefighters’ arrival.

Crews are still working to put out hot spots as of 12:35 p.m.

News Channel 11 was at the scene and reported seeing several cats in cages, as well as rabbits in the back yard of the home. Washington County & Johnson City Animal Control is at the scene of the fire assisting.

Investigators will be spending the next few days sifting through material and debris, trying to learn the cause of this home that was engulfed in flames, Thursday morning.

Due to the amount of debris, it took crews from four different fire departments to get the fire under control.

“We had all sorts of stuff piled up. Just about helmet high and there was really no good way to get through it. So, that was difficult,” Watauga Volunteer firefighter, Avery Welter said.

The excessive amount of materials in the home prevented firefighters from entering the home in time to rescue two women in the home.

“We were pretty sure that there were two elderly females inside the home at the time. On arrival, we saw heavy fire from the right side of the building, heavy dark smoke from the left side of the building. That’s when we made the decision to start gaining entry,” he explained.

As firefighters continued to search the smoke filled home, they found cats in cages and decided to call the Washington County, Tennessee Animal Control for help.

“There were quite a few cages and boxes locked up with cats and rabbits and such inside.//”We did lose a few cats inside the home. Of course, they were caged and didn’t have any way of getting out. The whole home was of course full of smoke and fire,” Welter said.

Washington County, Tennessee Animal Shelter executive director, Tammy Davis said, “I know that it was very bad living conditions where they were being kept. The animals were in complete darkness. I have no idea how long the animals had been there.”

The Johnson City Fire Department, Gray Volunteer Fire Department and Central Volunteer Fire Department are also on the scene.

Later in the afternoon, a family left a bouquet of flowers tied to a note, expressing their sorrow to the family.

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