16 dogs dead in Hephzibah house fire

Investigators still working to determine cause of deadly Hephzibah fire.
Investigators still working to determine cause of deadly Hephzibah fire.

***UPDATED MONDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2016 AT 3:04 P.M.***

HEPHZIBAH, Ga. (WJBF) – Augusta Fire Department investigators are working to find the cause of a deadly mobile home fire in Hephzibah.  All that’s left of the home is a very shaky foundation and a lot of charred items.   The renters, both a man and a woman, made it out alive.   Majority of their pets, two female dogs and their litters, did not escape the blaze.

A fire next door wasn’t how Gene Malpass expected to wake up early Monday morning, but he did.

“Woke me up and told me the house was on fire. I thought she was saying mine was on fire,” Malpass said of a neighbor.

And after confirming it wasn’t his home, he realized it was the home of a few not so friendly pets.

“Bulldogs. They look like Boston Bulldogs, which I don’t like. They are dangerous,” he said.

NewsChannel 6 first learned of the fire shortly around midnight.  Neighbors said the renters had three dogs, a male and two female, both of which had just given birth to about 14 pups. The moms and their pups are dead and a neighbor said the male dog made it out.

When they were alive, Malpass told us the dogs were rarely restrained and he described them as active.

“When I first moved here two of them came to my house and I was in the back [of the house]. They went to table and stole my food off my table and ran with it. That’s what I didn’t like it,” he described.

The bathroom inside the mobile home is where a fire investigator told NewsChannel 6 he found a space heater and that is where one female and her pups were staying.  The other mom was in a back room with her littler.

“I’m a dog lover and I don’t feel very good about that,” said Joe Felton, the owner of the property where the fire took place.

Felton joined the group in shock about the incident and he said the electrical heater wasn’t a surprise.
“In those mobile homes after a number of years those heating units go out and we don’t replace them, people just use space heaters. That’s probably true of 100 percent of the homes in Richmond County,” Felton said.

The owner added he’s not sure he will replace the mobile home since he may have thousands of dollars in damages.

The fire is still being investigated at this time.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

HEPHZIBAH, Ga. (WJBF) – Fire crews responded to a fire at a mobile home in Hephzibah early Monday morning.

Richmond County dispatch says it broke out on Liberty Church Road and Old Waynesboro Road. The homeowners are telling crews 16 dogs were in the home, and none of them got out.

The homeowners both got out of the home safely.

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