UPDATED|March 5, 2015 4:30pm

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ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – An East Arlington homeowner’s effort to keep her pets warm in the garage turned into a deadly mistake.  Fire investigators suspect a space heater, perhaps knocked over by one of the animals, caused to fire.

Two dogs and a cat were killed.  Another dog ran off and as of 11 a.m. Thursday had not yet been found.

Neighbors say they heard a loud boom and started seeing smoke pouring out of the house.  The homeowner made it out okay thanks to the help of neighbor John Bryant who was about to head to work when he saw the smoke.

“The neighbors told me the woman was in the back yard and couldn’t get out so I broke down the fence and helped her get out,” said Bryant.

Firefighters say this is a sad reminder to not leave a space heater near pets and to bring pets inside during the coldest days.

As for their trek to put out the fire in the icy conditions, Arlington firefighters tell us it was slow going getting into the neighborhood but they were prepared with chains on their tires.  They say they got to the fire in five-and-a-half minutes.

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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