Approximately 30 animals killed in Eaton Rapids house fire

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ONONDAGA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WILX) -- Approximately 30 animals were killed in a fire that broke out in an Onondaga Township home Tuesday night.

The fire started around 7 p.m. in the home located on the 5600 block of Kinneville Road.

When the homeowner returned home that night, she found the home was filling with smoke.

First responders on scene told News 10 when they arrived flames could be seen from the road.

Ingham County Animal Control was on scene Tuesday night removing deceased animals from the home. Reports indicate that some animals were burned so badly the species could not be immediately identified.

Approximately 10 to 15 animals survived the fire. It's possible the surviving animals were in a detached garage at the time of the fire.

John Zalewski was one of many nearby neighbors who stepped in to help. He was on his way to get dinner when he saw smoke, and eventually flames.

Zalewski says could hear animals inside making noise and was able to help save one cat.

"I saw a cat come out on fire," said Zalewski. "I picked it up and got it into one of the fire trucks, they (firefighters) let me sit in there and watch the rest of it from there."

The homeowner has found a suitable place for the surviving animals to live temporarily.

The home served as a rescue operation named "TJ's Rescued Angels." An employee, Vicky Marines, tells News 10 the operation took in animals that shelters would normally put down.

The Department of Agriculture says rescue operations are not regulated by the state or inspected, only shelters are.

Marines said the homeowner hired a plumber to thaw frozen pipes in the home. The plumber allegedly used a blow torch and heater for thawing and that's possibly how the fire started. Fire officials have not determined an official cause.

It's too early to tell if criminal charges will be filed.

The home is a total loss.

News 10 will keep tracking this story for you.

News 10 previously reported no pets were injured in the fire. That information has since been corrected.