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ORLANDO, Fla. (WESH) – Fire crews battled heavy flames at the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando on Conroy Road in Orange County overnight. Several animals died and crews were still counting each animal Thursday afternoon.
The fire broke out at around 10:27 p.m. on Wednesday.
Orange County fire officials said upon arrival that the structure was 20% involved in flames through the roof of the building.
The Pet Alliance strives to find homes for approximately 10,000 pets per year.
Pet Alliance officials said 26 dogs were rescued from the blaze and 12 cats were found dead; 10 cats are believed to be missing, WESH 2 News has learned. Authorities said at least 10 cats were removed from the building on Wednesday evening. A total of 20 cats have been found alive, officials said Thursday afternoon.
Officials say the fire appears to have started outside the clinic, near where the cats are kept.
“If you run a shelter, it’s literally your worst nightmare,” said Stephen Bardy, executive director of Pet Alliance. “Seeing your building on fire and knowing that there are animals inside that you need to take care of that you can’t get in – I’m grateful the firefighters put their lives on the line to help save so many.” than them. could.”
Dogs and cats will be transferred to the Pet Alliance site in Sanford.
Bardy added that many of the animals in the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando, around 50%, are currently in foster homes.
He said the building is a total loss.
Bardy said it was workers at the Orange County Animal Shelter, which is directly across from the parking lot, who spotted the blaze and began rescuing the animals, as well as the firefighters. He said that when he showed up at the scene, he was initially in shock.
“It’s devastating, I was emptied, then I started to think, okay, how can I temporarily house these animals, you immediately go to the next steps.”
Bardy says all of the Pet Alliance animals that were at the shelter and survived have been transferred to the Sanford Pet Alliance, which has room to house and care for them.
Regarding the building, he says they are unlikely to rebuild as they were already planning to build a new Pet Alliance Orlando shelter on land they purchased on John Young Parkway. They had hoped to innovate next year.
Bardy said it was not necessary for anyone to be there on Thursday, but financial donations to the Pet Alliance can be made online and they could also use donations of wet cat food at the Pet Alliance shelter in Sanford. , and of course, adoptions are always welcome.
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