Fire kills 75 year old woman and at least 44 dogs
A deadly fire in an elderly woman's home last night in Marion county is under investigation.
The 75 year old owner was a dog breeder and she, and at least 44 of her Chihuahuas, died in the fire.
The State Fire Marshall is investigating the incident, but we know that firefighters responded to 4475 Northeast 38th Terrace in the Ocala area, four minutes after receiving a 911 call from a neighbor.
The double wide mobile home was engulfed in flames and fire fighters found Sigried Bigos 10 feet from the front door and pulled her outside.
But it was too late for her and most of her dogs.
Friends and family say that Sigried "Dottie" Bigos, was a vibrant, friendly woman.
Audrina Bigos said, "She's 75, going on 45 maybe?!"
Tom Harrell said, "Everybody that knew her, loved her."
That's why this loss is so devastating.
Her neighbor, Tom Harrell, tried to save her from the fire. He said, "I had to go through the front door to even try to kick it in."
But after trying unsuccessfully to get into the home, he instead tried to rescue the dogs trapped in the carport kennel.
Harrell said, "I seen one of the dogs and I snatched open the gate and let him out."
Five dogs escaped and are currently being treated at Live Oak Animal Clinic near Ocala.
Lilly Baron, a local animal rescuer, said she's been concerned about the number of dogs living in Bigos' double wide mobile home for months. She said, "We did everything we could to help her as far as to try to eliminate some of the dogs and when we offered her money to buy some of the dogs so we could get them out of this situation...she wouldn't even take money for them."
But Audrina Bigos, said that her grandmother was not an animal hoarder and concerns over their living conditions are unfounded. Bigos said, "If we felt as a family that that was the case, then we would've called animal protection a long time ago. "
Elaine DeIorio from Marion County Animal Services said that although Bigos was out of date on licensing and rabies vaccinations, she was working with the county to comply and was a responsible pet owner.
No matter how people felt about Dottie Bigos' dogs, they all had praise for her, saying the grief of her passing, especially in such a tragic accident, is overwhelming.
The family believes that the source of the fire was electrical. However, no one will know for sure until the investigation is concluded. An autopsy will take place tonight to confirm her cause of death.
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