Two dead after house fire

An elderly couple was found dead after their Las Vegas home caught fire Thursday afternoon.

Authorities did not identify the couple, but said the fire appeared accidental.

A postal worker saw smoke billowing from the home and alerted neighbors on the 5300 block of Dulce Avenue, near Lake Mead and Decatur boulevards, according to Las Vegas Fire Department spokesman Tim Szymanski. Neighbors called the fire department at 4:19 p.m.

One neighbor, whom Szymanski said knew the couple, ran inside the burning home while donning a breathing mask. The man encountered heavy smoke and left the home after discovering two bodies inside, according to Szymanski.

When firefighters arrived at the smoke-filled, single-story home, they discovered a woman in the back bedroom bed, where authorities believe the blaze started. A man, deceased, was slouched over on a couch in the living room.

Investigators could not rule out improper use of extension cords as the cause of the fire -- numerous cords were found in the bedroom, according to Szymanski.

One dog and 42 cats also were found dead inside, Szymanski said.

The fire was quickly extinguished.

Neighbors said the couple was friendly and that the two were in their 70s or 80s. They said the man required a walker to get around, and a month ago, the woman was taken to the hospital by ambulance.

"They would always wave and say 'hi' when they came out," said Rudy Hernandez, 63.

However, firefighters would prefer civilians not run into burning buildings .

"It really is the smoke that is the killer in most fires," Szymanski said.