Fire destroyed a home on Highway 49 north of Sonora this afternoon, but 11 chihuahuas, a bigger dog and a cat survived the conflagration.
The fire was reported after 3 p.m. It was at a house on the 10200 block of Highway 49, just west of Springfield Road.
There are two structures on the property. The house that burned was home to Luther Lee, according to witnesses.
Jack Ainsworth, 22, who lives in a neighboring house on the property, said he and Lee were hanging out at his house when he heard an explosion at Lee's place.
He said he ran to free the animals kept in the house. All had been accounted for.
Fire officials on scene said the structure and its contents were a loss.
The fire's cause is under investigation.
The Union Democrat is now online in a Replica E-edition form and publishes Tuesday through Saturday. E-Edition or Print Plus subscribers have full access.
If you are not a current subscriber, subscribe today for immediate access. Circulation: 209-533-3614
Weekly Arts and entertainment guide for Calaveras and Tuolumne counties