The Shawnee Heights Fire Department responded to a house fire at 6709 SW Shadyvale Lane in Topeka around 10:30AM.
The person who is renting the home says he returned this morning and opened the front door and smoke hit him in the face. He says he ran through the house to the basement where he saw the damage of the fire. He says, and fire Captain Danny Reese confirms that the fire was self contained to the basement and was out upon arrival.
At least two snakes, two lizards and a frog died in the fire. Two cats were rescued.
"They looked to be in bad shape but they were still breathing and moving," Captain Reese said.
Animal control was called to the scene and the cats have been taken to a veterinary to be checked out. Reese says he would expect the cats to survive.
Those that live there were sitting outside the home when 13 News crews arrived. They were obviously upset and didn't want to speak on camera but say they are thankful to have renters insurance and happy that the fire was at least contained to the basement; it could have been much worse they say.
The Red Cross was on the scene offering emergency assistant them. They are likely to stay with relatives while they clean out the soot which not only damaged their upstairs but also the attached home next door.
The fire is believed to have been caused by an electrical problem associated with a greenhouse or heating lamps in the basement.