FALLS CITY -  Emergency responders were called to a dryer fire Tuesday night at 1723 McLean Street in Falls City.

Arriving firefighters reported heavy smoke pouring from the second-story eaves.

A Falls City Volunteer Fire Department report says improper ventilation and a plugged dryer vent are suspected as the cause of the fire, but an electrical cause is also suspected. The owners reported seeing fire coming from the front of the machine. They attempted to put the fire out and unplugged the dryer.

They were able to evacuate safely, but several cats perished.

The fire department says because of the construction style of the house and fire climbing up through the walls and several confined spaces, including multiple ceilings, it was difficult to locate the fire. Extensive smoke and water damage is reported.

24 firefighters, from the volunteer and rural fire departments, responded. Firefighters were able to use a new fire hydrant nearby.

A portion of 18th Street was closed due to freezing water.

Jon McQueen of the fire department offered thanks for local residents who provided drinking water, clothes and blankets for the family affected.