An estimated 16 small dogs appear to have perished in a house fire Saturday afternoon about six miles west of Benton City.
A woman, who was in her 60s, tried to go back into her rental home at 26004 251 Private Road to rescue the dogs, but neighbor Mary Bramer said her husband and son prevented the woman from re-entering the home.
The neighbors said they feared the woman would not be able to survive her attempt to save the dogs.
The fire south of West Yakitat Road was reported about 2:15 p.m., but by the time the first fire engine arrived, about three-quarters of the home was engulfed and the roof already was on fire, said Capt. Bill Reed of Benton Fire District 2.
Bramer, who made the 911 call, said she was getting ready to load her truck with donations for Goodwill when she noticed the smoke and flames.
Bramer said they could hear small dogs yelping from inside the home. They were being kept in crates, she said.
"It was terrible," Bramer said.
Some of the dogs belonged to the woman, Bramer said.
According to Bramer, the woman also fostered dogs for a rescue group. She estimated the woman was caring for about 16 dogs, however the Herald was unable to confirm Saturday evening which rescue group the woman was affiliated with.
Bramer said the woman also showed some of her own dogs.
Reed said he was told there were about 15 dogs. None of the dogs in the home survived.
The woman was treated for smoke inhalation by medics at the scene then transported to Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland, he said.
She suffered burns to her hands, Bramer said.
The Benton Franklin Chapter of the American Red Cross had been called to assist the woman, Reed said.
There were no fire hydrants in the area, which meant firefighters were using water tenders to provide the water for extinguishing the fire.
Reed said three water tenders were used, and after they were emptied, sent to Benton City to fill up and return.
Firefighters broke a small window on the side of the home with a hatchet and used a chain saw to cut holes into the wall of the single-story house.
Reed said that allowed them to fight the fire from the side.
It was not safe to have firefighters in the home at that point because of the possibility of collapse.
"The house is going to be a total loss," he said.
The home, owned by TJ Wise, was worth about $87,000, according to Benton County assessor records.
The 1,188-square-foot home was built in 2004.
The woman apparently had just left the kitchen when the fire started, but the cause had not been determined, Reed said.
The Benton County Sheriff's Office will investigate the fire, he said.
About 22 firefighters helped put out the fire, Reed said. Benton fire districts 3 and 4 also assisted with putting out the fire.
No firefighters were injured, he said.