Man killed in house fire in Herndon, dozens of cats survive - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Man killed in house fire in Herndon, dozens of cats survive

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A tragic story out of Herndon, Va., where a homeowner died Wednesday night in a fire in his garage.

Fairfax County fire officials have not identified the victim, but his neighbors on Willow Glen Court say he was 71-year-old Richard Jacobi. A spokesman says his wife called 911 after the fire broke out around 10:55 p.m., said the fire was in the garage and that her husband was missing.

The county's new fire chief, Richard Bowers, Jr., says the couple bred cats. They had 37 of them. Firefighters rescued 24, which were being cared for at the Fairfax County Animal Shelter. Officials there say the animals are in good shape, just in shock and smell like smoke.

Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the fire. First reports blamed propane tanks. But Chief Bowers says it is possible any aerosol can would cause the explosions neighbors heard.

County firefighters and paramedics are canvassing the neighborhood Thursday evening, making sure people have working smoke detectors. The county is launching a new community safety initiative next Saturday, promoting safety tips on smoke detectors, grilling, fireworks and boating.

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