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The city of Portage fire department building is seen at 115 W. Pleasant St. in January. 

A family and their pets were safely evacuated from a Portage house fire without injury Sunday night, fire officials say.

Portage Fire Chief Clayton Simonson said a fire started in the basement of 617 W. Wisconsin St. Firefighters managed to contain the fire to a small area.

Simonson said the residents heard a crackling sound but could not go into the basement because it was full of smoke.

The family planned to stay overnight at a friend’s house Sunday, Simonson said. He didn’t know when the family might return home.

Simonson said he didn’t know exactly how many people escaped from the fire because a man came home after the fire had started. He added that two cats and two dogs also survived the fire.

Police scanner traffic indicated the fire began just before 6 p.m. Sunday.

At least 15 Portage firefighters responded Sunday with three fire engines, with assistance from the Portage Police Department. By 8 p.m. Sunday, all first responders had departed the scene.

An investigation into the cause of the fire began Monday morning. Further details are pending as the investigation continues.

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Portage Daily Register public safety reporter

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