An Orlando animal shelter caught fire on Wednesday, killing between 20 and 30 cats, while all dogs were rescued, according to Orange County firefighters.
Firefighters battled a massive blaze late at night at the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando, with the building ablaze 20% through the roof of the building upon arrival. The cause of the fire is unknown. The fire severely damaged at least half of the building.
“If you run a shelter, it’s literally your worst nightmare,” Stephen Bardy, executive director of Pet Alliance, told reporters NBC 8 Orlando. “See your building on fire and know that there are animals in there that you are responsible for taking care of and you cannot come in.… I am grateful that the firefighters put their lives in danger to help. save as many as they could. ”
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Bardy said although all of the dogs have been rescued and 10 cats have been removed from the building, the belief is that the shelter lost between 20 and 30 cats in the blaze.
The fire likely started near the front of the clinic, where the cats are kept, according to The Orlando Sentinel.
The Orlando-based Pet Alliance works to find homes for around 10,000 pets per year. All surviving animals were transferred to the Pet Alliance location in Sanford, Florida.