An early-morning fire in a camelback house containing five apartments turned into a four-alarm blaze, badly damaging a neighboring house in the 1000 block of Louisiana Avenue, the New Orleans Fire Department reported.

Though all seven of the house’s residents were either not home or escaped safely, four pets, a cat and three dogs, died of smoke inhalation.

After a 911 call received at 2:01 a.m., the first fire trucks arrived at the scene of the fire at 2:06 a.m. and found the dwelling “heavily involved in flames.” Almost immediately, at 2:09 a.m., firefighters raised a second alarm. At 2:18 a.m., a third alarm was radioed in, followed by a fourth-alarm at 2:45 a.m.

The fire was brought under control at 3:42 a.m., with the help of a total of 24 fire-department units and 69 firefighters. At its worst, flames spread into a neighboring, single-family home, causing extensive damage to the left rear section of the house and its attic. Radiant heat also damaged the façade of a nearby commercial structure located on Magazine Street, behind the home.