LONGVIEW — When neighbors heard alarms blaring and saw smoke billowing from a house in Longview on Monday afternoon, they rushed into the burning structure — even though they knew the owners weren’t home.

They also knew several cats and dogs lived in the house.

Firefighters arrived, ushered the neighbors out of the home, and attacked the fire. The firefighters extinguished the blaze within 10 minutes and then searched the house, Longview Police & Fire said in a statement.

The home’s four dogs quickly appeared out of the smoke, largely unharmed. But the firefighters had to hunt out the residence’s four cats, which were all in critical condition from smoke inhalation.

Firefighters “aggressively resuscitated” the cats with oxygen, saving their lives.

They turned the cats over to Animal Control of Cowlitz County for further treatment. Animal Control says the cats are improving and expected to survive. The dogs remained with the family.

The fire appears to have started in the kitchen, though inspectors have not determined the cause. Longview Fire estimates the damage at $40,000 or more.