Couple injured in Mandarin house fire

Firefighters rescue couple, 2 cats

Published On: Nov 20 2012 09:58:37 AM EST   Updated On: Nov 21 2012 07:02:53 AM EST
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

A married couple were hospitalized for smoke inhalation after a house fire Tuesday morning in the Julington Creek area of Mandarin.

Jacksonville Fire-Rescue told Channel 4 that firefighters were pulled from the interior of the house in the 1200 block of Toucan Drive about 9:30 a.m. for fear that the roof may collapse.

Firefighters said that before they arrived, 70-year-old Harley Mimbs and his wife, 65-year-old Jane Mimbs, went back into their house to try to save their pets -- two cats and a dog -- and when they went back in, neighbors said they didn't think they would make it back out.

IMAGES: Fire guts Mandarin home

Neighbors said that shortly after the couple went back inside, they heard an explosion and saw the house engulfed in flames.

Firefighters got the couple and their two cats out of the back of the house safely. The dog was found in the backyard and didn't survive.

"You can see from the house how bad it was, so just knowing that in the end -- I mean, yes it was sad that they lost their dog, but the fact that they made it out alive was just nice because a lot of us did not think that it was going to come through in the end," said neighbor Zach Gibbons, who witnessed the couple going back inside.

Gibbons said he heard the couple's screams for help when the fire started.

"We came outside. We called 911, and that's probably what saved their life because of how quickly the trucks were here," he said.

The inside of the house was gutted by the flames. The damage was estimated to be more than $100,000.

The couple's daughter said her mom was in the intensive care unit at a hospital but was doing OK. She said her parents have eight grandchildren.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated.