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Dogs rescued in South Fort Myers apartment fire

Posted at 10:23 PM, Oct 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-18 07:27:00-04

A fire at a south Fort Myers apartment complex left one unit with extensive damage, but the talk of the neighborhood is the heroic efforts of firefighters and one neighbor to save the animals who were trapped inside.

The fire happened Monday afternoon at the Palms of Monterrey apartment complex. Louisa Cilento lives in the building where the fire happened, and when she saw smoke coming from her neighbor's unit, she realized two dogs were trapped inside and their owner wasn't home.

"There was a significant amount of smoke," Cilento said. "My instant feeling was grab my dog and get out. And then give my dog to someone to hold while I tried to tend to where there were other animals that needed help."

She said she ran upstairs to see if the door to that unit was unlocked, but the doors were secured shut. Minutes later, crews from Iona McGregor Fire Department arrived.

"As soon as they got out of the truck, I told them that there were dogs in there," Cilento said. "A few minutes later, in a crowd of people, we saw them carry one dog down at a time."

She said the dogs were limp at first from the smoke, heat, and fear, but when the dogs recovered, there was still one last rescue mission.

"One of the dogs was allowed to go back in and find a cat that had been hiding," Cilento said.

Many of her neighbors are calling Cilento a hero, but she says it's the firefighters who should be getting the glory.

"The fireman were really the ones who came and did everything. They were just terrific," she said.