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PHOENIX -- Phoenix firefighters say their efforts to save four puppies that were pulled from a burning home were unsuccessful.

The fire started Thursday morning in the home's garage, possibly by a woman living illegally in the home.

"We believe that there's a good possibility that she was squatting in the home," said Phoenix Fire Cpt. Jonathon Jacobs. "In the garage area she possibly made a warming fire and that she had these puppies with her and this fire got out of control."

The woman escaped with one puppy.

Neighbors say a resident went into the home to try to save the puppies. Firefighters used special pet masks and oxygen on the others, but Jacobs says they died of smoke inhalation.

It also appears that there was a delay in authorities being called.

"There was definitely a delay in the 911 process," said Jacobs. "This fire had went through an attic area, burnt through a roof with shingles on it, there was a delay there and that calling of 911 is really important."

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Martha Maurer, News Editor

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