EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT)- Three puppies are dead and a family is displaced after they say a space heater caught fire.

Firefighters responded to reports of smoke coming from a home in the 600 block of east Chandler Avenue on Sunday afternoon.

“In a split second, the puppies are dead and the upstairs is burnt,” says Malissa Oaks, the homeowner.

Before the fire, Oaks and her family were cleaning the upstairs to give her sister more room. Oaks took her sister in after a tree fell on her home on Bedford Avenue earlier this month. Oaks believes the fire started after one of her kids turned off a space heater and forgot to turn it off.

“When they came down for lunch, I guess the heater was close to a box of old toys and it caught fire,” Oaks says.

Oaks says the fire spread quickly. Her son ran down to turn off the breaker.

“He remembered that the space heater got left on. He grabbed the fire extinguisher… and then he went it upstairs. But it was too late, I mean the damage is to the hallway, the bathroom where the space heater was in and the room where the puppies were,” Oaks says.

Three of Oaks’ foster puppies died in the fire. Oaks says they are figuring out where to put their other foster animals. She says that some are going to the homes of family members and friends. Because of the fire, Oaks, her sister and their families are displaced.

“Because it was an electrical fire, I have to get the insurance in here… once the damage is fixed, we can come home,” Oaks says.

The American Red Cross came to the home to offer assistance.