SIMPSON, PITT COUNTY - An electric heater, meant to keep a pair of dogs warm, caused a fire that killed the animals, investigators said.
"I just feel like I lost part of me too," said Jamie May, one of the dogs' owners. "I just feel like I'm a bucket of water."
Firefighters said they got the call to Brick Kiln Road, in Simpson, shortly after 7:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Denny Earl Mooring, one of the dogs' owners, said he put the electric heater in a shed behind his home to keep the animals warm. But the heater caught fire, and the flames consumed the entire shed within 10 minutes, investigators said.
The dogs killed were named "Hot Dog" and "Brownie." Mooring told NewsChannel 12 they were like family.
"We lost the dogs and that's the only thing that really hurts," Mooring said. "The material things can be replaced, but the dogs they really hurt us because they were just part of our heart and we loved them to death. And they loved us."
May said the thought of the dogs suffering was too much to bare.
"I laid down and I just lost it because to me, it felt like I could hear them howling, trying to get out," May said.
The shed was a total loss from the fire. The dogs' owners were not injured.