By Lemor Abrams

SACRAMENTO COUNTY (CBS13) — Metro Fire crews rescued nearly three dozen pets in one day as they battled fires.

If the rescue of 14 dogs and two cats wasn’t enough on Thursday morning, Sacramento Metro Fire set off to another burning home in North Highlands to save 17 more dogs and two cats.

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“It was definitely a different day. Probably a day we’ll never see again in our career,” said firefighter Pete Votava. “I know we usually get the credit for saving the dogs like we are now but it truly is the device that was a big help.”

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The special breathing masks are designed to grip almost any snout, big or small, and deliver pure oxygen, and can even be used on reptiles. It’s all part of Project Breathe, a nonprofit foundation that donates the masks to fire departments in need.

Chief Chris Quinn helped launch the program in Sacramento County two and a half years ago. The cost was nothing, but the outcome is priceless.

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“Think of a young child that has a puppy—yes they lost a few toys but it’s much more tragic when they’ve also lost the family pet,” he said.