The man and woman who live in the duplex say they went out to dinner with friends, and returned to find their home filled with smoke. The couple and their friends tried to rescue their pets, but the smoke was too thick for them to enter.
Fire claimed the lives of a dog, two cats, and a pet lizard, while two boa constrictors were rescued after the fire was extinguished.
Firefighters determined a pot of food that was left cooking on the stove is what caused the fire. Fire damage was contained to the kitchen, but heavy smoke damage to the entire townhouse left it uninhabitable.
A neighbor and the female resident were transported to the hospital for treatment of minor fire-related injuries.
Firefighters noted that cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries, according to the National Fire Protection Association.