VINELAND – The Cumberland County SPCA is investigating circumstances surrounding the death of multiple dogs in an early morning fire on Friday.

The storage shed fire in the 500 block of East Pear Street killed three adult pit bulls and seven puppies.

SPCA Executive Director Bev Greco said her agency became involves as a “matter of course” because of the numbers of dogs involved. She also said that property owner Anthony Aponte was also convicted on animal cruelty charges in 2003.

“We need to investigate to see if negligence is involved,” she said.

Greco said SPCA staff met with city fire officials Monday and is trying to contact Aponte.

Local authorities said the fire began at 4:30 a.m. A portion of East Pear Street from Northeast Boulevard to Sixth Street was closed while firefighters brought the blaze under control.

Authorities said the cause of the fire does not seem to be suspicious, but an investigation into its cause is ongoing.