DETROIT (WWJ) – Detroit firefighters went the extra length to save a group of dogs and puppies from a house fire.

The fire took off Tuesday afternoon at a home on Plainview, near Evergreen Road and Warren Avenue on the city’s west side. As many as 17 dogs, including a litter of puppies, were trapped the basement full of smoke, according to Deputy Fire Commissioner Dave Fornell.

“They removed the dogs from the house and the firefighters, as well as the EMS people, started to administer oxygen to the dogs,” Fornell told WWJ’s Ron Dewey. “Actually, from what I understand, they saved 12 of the puppies and two of the adult dogs.”

Despite their efforts, a couple of the puppies and an adult dog unfortunately didn’t survive.

“But with that number of four-legged victims, they did a heck of a job and we’re proud of them,” Fornell said of the firefighters.

Animal control officers took the surviving dogs and are currently caring for the animals.

Fire crews are equipped with special oxygen masks for animals, but they only work for adult-size dogs. For puppies, who already have delicate respiratory systems, crews often use human oxygen masks, which worked in this situation.

“It’s not something that you use everyday but it can be a lifesaving device,” said Fornell. “They’re longer than a human oxygen mask so they fit over the snout of the animal. The problem though is that with these little dogs, really the human ones work better.”

Donations are being accepted for new animal masks, a specialized piece of equipment Fornell says is expensive.

Investigators are still trying to determine a cause of the fire.

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