13 cats killed in Phoenix house fire, investigators say arson is to blame

PHOENIX - Firefighters believe arson may be to blame for a house fire that killed 13 cats Saturday night.

The fire broke out at the home near Central Avenue and Dobbins Road around 11 p.m.

Neighbors didn't think anyone was home until they saw firefighters rushing in and out with cats in their hands.

"I saw each of them carrying one in each hand. They kept coming," said neighbor Billy Ray Sainz.

Firefighters found a total of 22 cats inside the home. Only nine cats survived the blaze.

"We had no idea she even had cats. We never heard anything," said Sainz.

Investigators said when fire crews arrived, the back roof was covered in flames. After sifting through the charred house, investigators determined the fire was intentionally set.

"A suspect broke into the back window, stole belongings and set the back bedroom on fire," said Jonathan Jacobs with the Phoenix Fire Department.

Investigators are still searching for suspects in this case.

The woman who was renting the house had just moved in to be closer to her mom who lives on the same road. She was not home when the fire started.

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