MARGATE — Two pets died in a second-floor apartment fire Sunday on South Essex Avenue.

The Fire Department was called to the scene at around 4:30 p.m. for reports of heavy smoke and flames showing from the apartment, Margate Fire Chief Anthony Tabasso said.

The building houses a business, Anchor Arts studio, on its first floor and an apartment unit on its second and third floor.

Tabasso said the city’s off-duty firefighters and mutual aid from Longport, Ventnor and Ocean City were called in to assist with extinguishing the fire, which resulted in substantial damage to all three units.

No one was home in either of the apartment units, aside from the cat and dog in the second floor apartment, which both died from smoke inhalation, officials said.

Anchor Arts was hosting a child’s birthday party when the fire started, and its occupants had to evacuate. A note on its website states the studio is temporarily closed until further notice due to damage from the fire.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

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