Metro

Pets perish in Reading house fire

Three dogs and three birds died after fire broke out in a home in Reading on Tuesday night, fire officials said.

The home at 397 South St. is across the street from the assistant fire chief’s house, according to Reading Fire Captain Paul Guarino.

“He called it in,” Guarino said.

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The fire was discovered around 9 p.m. but it appeared to have been burning unnoticed for some time, he said.

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“It got a pretty good head start,” Guarino said.

There were no injuries reported, but the pets that were inside the home — three dogs and three birds — did not survive, he said.

Guarino said the fire was difficult to fight because the home appeared to have undergone many renovations over the years, so there were multiple ceiling layers and wall layers inside the structure.

Firefighters spent several hours battling the fire. At one point, firefighters were forced to evacuate from the 2-alarm house fire after the second floor collapsed, an official said.

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Guarino said it’s likely that the house will have to be torn down.

“The house sustained a considerable amount of damage,” said Guarino.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, he said.

Globe correspondent Alyssa Meyers contributed to this report. Emily Sweeney can be reached at esweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.