AUBURN — A woman and her pets survived a house fire on Washington Street on Wednesday, in part because of the efforts of a group of men who rushed to their rescue.

Dan Myrand was working on a renovation project at about noon when he heard a commotion from next door at 533 Washington St.

“I heard somebody yell ‘fire!’ and we ran downstairs,” Myrand said. “A woman was running out and she was upset. She said her animals were in there.”

Denis Theriault also came running. The fire was on the second floor of the two-story building and it was growing intense.

“I came around the back of the building and saw the window blow out from the heat inside,” Theriault said.

Theriault called 911 and advised that the Fire Department should send a full response. The men did not try to battle the blaze. Instead, they turned their attention to getting everyone out safely and trying to save pets and property.

“We came in and started taking out the animals and getting the people out of the building,” Theriault said. “We tried to move the vehicles away from the building to minimize the damage. It’s all we could do.”

Inside the burning home was at least one dog, a cat, a guinea pig and several ferrets in a cage. After making sure the building was empty of people, the men — Theriault and Myrand were joined by Matt Theriault and Chris Gendron, who had been working on the same renovation project — turned their attention to saving the pets.

“We were running all around the first floor,” Myrand said. “We found a back room where the dog was hiding. The cat was running around the house. It didn’t want to come to us.”

Myrand was finally able to get hold of the cat and brought it outside, along with the dog, guinea pig and ferrets.

Myrand and the others searched the smoky kitchen for a fire extinguisher but couldn’t find one right away. No need, as it turned out. Fire crews were there moments later to take on the fast-moving blaze.

“It got involved pretty quickly,” Theriault said. “The Fire Department was here in no time. Those guys saved the house. It was an incredible response.”

Fire officials said the single-family home is owned by Rodney Cameron. The woman, whose name was not available, had been living there alone.

Fire damage was limited to the second floor bedroom, officials said. The cause remained under investigation.

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