RANCHO CORDOVA, CA - Firefighters found a man and a woman dead inside a home while battling an early morning house fire.
The fire started at about 4 Sunday morning at the home on 10500 block of Georgetown Drive, according to Capt. Kim Fong with the Sacramento Metro Fire District.
"They were inside the house. It looks as if they might have been attempting to escape, but they did, in fact, perish," said Fong.
Four dogs, three cats, and 10 birds also died in the blaze.
Rancho Cordova Animal Control officers took the 22 surviving exotic birds from the home later Sunday morning.
The Sacramento County coroner identified the couple Monday morning as Vera Arlene and Leeon Johnson, both in their 70s.
"They had a lot of animals and birds," said Don Barnett, who lives across the street from the home.
"They were really nice people," he added.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Fong said firefighters have responded to an upward trend of house fires in 2013, many of them fatal. In the past two months, the department has handled more than 60 house fires.
For tips on how to keep your home safe, you can visit www.metrofire.ca.gov.