MERIDIAN -- Man's best friend got a fresh breath of air as firefighters saved a cute pup and two lucky cats found unconscious and unmoving inside a burning Meridian home.
The fire broke out just after noon Wednesday inside one room of a home on Northeast 10th Avenue in Meridian.
Firefighters don't yet know what started it. They do know that two women living inside the home escaped the fire, but suffered from smoke inhalation.
"Our first units arrived very quickly and determined there were no victims inside - they had made it outside," said Division Chief Blake Campbell of the Meridian Fire Department.
Ada County Paramedics transported both women to the hospital as firefighters extinguished the flames. Their job wasn't done yet. Two cats and a dog were still inside the house in need of rescue.
Campbell says rescuers eventually found the animals, then used oxygen masks and special adapters to help them breathe, saving their lives.
"Every single time we have an incident like this, if it involves pets, we always try, at least try," Campbell told KTVB.
Meanwhile, behind the home, where flames shot through a window, crews cleared away the wreckage and investigators looked for the cause of the flames.
That's where animal control officers found two more dogs living outside the home, and brought them to the Idaho Humane Society, where they are expected to live.
Campbell says all five animals will be reunited with their owners soon.
"I think they're going to be elated," Campbell told KTVB.
Firefighters plan to provide assistance to the victims through the Meridian Fire Department Burnout Fund.
Meridian Deputy Fire Chief Perry Palmer said one of the women had been treated at St. Luke's West in Meridian and released.
The second woman remained hospitalized.
As for how the women were able to escape the burning home, Palmer says a neighbor came to their rescue.
"It appears that it's going to be a big deal," Palmer said, adding that his department would look into exactly how that happened and follow up later in the week.