Careless smoking blamed for Chester fire that killed at least 2 dogs

CHESTER (WABC) -- Authorities are investigating a deadly tragedy in Orange County Friday.

A fire in the home of a veterinarian living above his animal hospital injured the man and killed at least two of his dogs.

It happened in the town of Chester, where investigators are trying to determine the cause of the fire.

The intense inferno just about gutted the living quarters above All Pets Veterinary Practice, the fast-moving flames first called in by a motorist driving past. By the time emergency crews arrived, the structure was fully-involved.

It took nearly 100 firefighters from 12 volunteer companies to bring the blaze under control.

The lower level of the building is in the rear and is where veterinarian Mark Lane treats animals. He owns four dogs, but only one made it out. Two were found dead in the house, and the fourth is unaccounted for.

Police say the 55-year-old vet was found in the doorway of the home.

Careless smoking is believed to be the cause, and as the investigation continues, police took inventory of personal items including legally-registered firearms and ammunition.

Lane has been a vet in the area for decades and is well known in the area.

The investigation is ongoing.
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