SAN PABLO -- A woman was hospitalized after being seriously burned early Sunday when she went back into her burning home to try and save some pets, fire officials said.

Police officers who rushed to the flaming and heavily smoking home on the 2900 block of 12th Street around 2 a.m. found her outside the house and sent her to the hospital in an ambulance, said Battalion Chief Lon Goetsch of the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District, who declined to say if her injuries were life threatening. The unnamed woman was then transferred to the burn unit at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco.

The woman was among three adult residents who initially escaped the fire, but she went back in after some pets. Fire crews subsequently rescued one cat from the home, while another died due to apparent smoke inhalation, said Goetsch. Firefighters had the fire under control about 15 minutes after they arrived.

The blaze did an estimated $200,000 damage and left one resident in emergency housing arranged by the Red Cross.

A fire investigator at the scene said it appears the fire was accidentally started by a candle left unwatched in a bedroom, said Goetsch.

Contact Joshua Melvin at 650-348-4335. Follow him at Twitter.com/melvinreport.