Beloved dogs killed in Reading fire

City firefighter injured; two dozen birds rescued

Firefighter hurt; four dogs die in fire

READING, Pa. - Four dogs were killed and a firefighter was injured in a house fire in Reading, officials said.

The fire started just after 5 p.m. Wednesday in the 1700 block of Centre Avenue.

Betsy Rosa, the homeowner, could be seen running from the home, screaming in grief, only to discover that her four Chihuahuas had perished in the blaze.

"My dogs died," Rosa said in tears.

Neighbors said Rosa's four Chihuahuas -- Gordo, Bravo, Diva and Ruby -- were fixtures in the community.

"It's terrible. Terrible," said Angie Luchetta, one of the many neighbors who called 911. "I was just saying to my son, 'We're going to miss them barking,' because we could hear them barking every morning at 6 o'clock in the morning. They were great dogs."

Neighbors said they did all they could to save the home.

"We saw the flames shooting out of the back window, and we called 911," said Edna Barbitta, neighbor.

The blaze was so intense, one firefighter was injured and taken to the Reading Hospital, where he was last listed in stable condition.

The remaining firefighters were actually able to save two dozen of Rosa's birds, some of them exotic birds.

"Apparently, they were in the basement. They were below the fire, so there was a little bit of smoke that we cleared out to help the birds breathe a little better," said Lt. Jeremy Searfoss, Reading Fire Dept.

But for Rosa, just looking at the destruction was overwhelming.

"I lost my home," said Rosa.

Rosa's husband was preparing food on the stove and thought he had turned off the burners completely before leaving the home, fire officials said. Sadly, officials said the stove was not turned off completely.

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Allentown, PA 18102




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