DANVILLE — Danville Fire Chief Aaron Marcott said three cats died in an apartment building fire early Sunday morning. Two people hanging from second-story windows were rescued.

The department estimated that around 18-20 people were in the eight-unit building at the time of the fire. Occupants were alerted by a smoke detector system.

Around 4:46 a.m. Sunday, Danville Fire Department responded to 1228 Garden Drive for a reported stove on fire.

The first fire crews to arrive found heavy smoke coming from the building. Danville police were on the scene and reported to fire crews that multiple people were hanging from the building’s second story.

One resident hanging from a second story window had already lowered some of her children to the officers, according to Marcott.

Firefighter Matt Goodner caught the woman as she dropped from the window, Marcott said.

Firefighters were then told another occupant was trapped on the opposite side of the building. Marcott said Goodner and Lt. Jason Hotsinpiller quickly moved a ladder to the trapped occupant and rescued the second occupant from the window.

Additional crews extended a hose line to the fire area, which was determined to be in an apartment located on the first floor. The fire, which Marcott said is believed to have started as a result of cooking, spread to the kitchen and living room areas of one apartment.

Firefighters remained on the scene until 8:01 a.m., clearing hot spots and investigating the fire.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Early damage estimates were placed at $25,000 to the structure and another $10,000 in contents.

Marcott said no serious injuries were reported. The Red Cross was notified to assist affected families.

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