By CBSBoston.com Staff

HOLLISTON (CBS) – A Holliston woman died Tuesday after running back in to her burning home in a desperate attempt to save more than a dozen dogs that were trapped inside.

Firefighters were called to the house on Winter Street late Monday night and found fire in the living room and backyard and flames going through the roof.

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Initially, a couple safely escaped the fire. But the state fire marshal’s office said one of them ran back into the house to save the dogs, but most were in cages and couldn’t have been saved in time.

The woman ended up trapped on the second floor. Firefighters found her near a bedroom and pulled her out, Deputy Fire Chief Mark Dellicker said at the scene.

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Firefighters took both people to an area hospital, but the woman did not survive. Her identity has not been released.

There were several pets in the house and more than a dozen dogs died, firefighters said.

Neighbors said the couple had dozens of rescue animals.

“She seemed to really love her pets, she took good care of them,” neighbor Kathy Montgomery told WBZ-TV. “I would have done the same thing. I feel for her. I feel for her husband. I’m just devastated.”

Kevin Swanecamp is heartbroken. She’s always taking the dogs that didn’t have a place to go, a place to stay. That was her life, take care of them, morning, noon and night,” he said.  

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Before fire crews arrived Swanecamp said he also tried to help.  We knocked the fence down. They came out of the house and then she went back in. She didn’t know what was going on with the smoke. It took them awhile to find her they gave their best effort,” he said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

CBSBoston.com Staff