VANCOUVER -- A family escaped a house fire in northeast Vancouver Saturday night, but unfortunately, their pets did not.

The fire broke out before 5 p.m. on Northeast 72nd Avenue. Firefighters arrived within moments but two dogs upstairs did not survive the flames.

A neighbor called the fire in and crews said it was challenging to extinguish.

It's a balloon frame constructive house, so the fire was inside the walls and up into the attic. (It was) slow moving, slow smoldering, so we're having trouble digging through the walls and pulling all the ceiling out., said Battalion Chief Drew Tracy Vancouver Fire Department .

Firefighters were not sure how the fire started, but they said it began in an upstairs bedroom.

More: Vancouver neighborhood news

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