A fire at an Austin-area kennel killed about 75 pets overnight, fire officials say.
Georgetown Fire Chief John Sullivan said the fire at the Ponderosa Pet Resort was first reported at about 11 p.m. Sullivan said firefighters arrived within minutes to find a worst-possible scenario where there was heavy smoke and fire coming from the building.
The chief said firefighters quickly entered the building and opened ventilation to try to save as many of the lives inside as possible. Despite their efforts, Sullivan said that all 75 of the animals being cared for at the kennel were lost.
There were no people in the building overnight, Sullivan said.
"It was not occupied by any humans … by no indication do I want to lead anyone to believe that is any less tragic. it is extremely heart-wrenching for us," Sullivan said. "As first responders, my heart just dropped when I got the address, I knew exactly what location we were going to because, quite frankly, I view my personal pet as my closest confidant, friend, and the one that doesn't judge. My heart just breaks for the people today."
Sullivan said most of the animals he saw appeared to have died from smoke inhalation.
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"It's hard to accept the fact that we showed up in such a quick fashion yet we were unable to save even one life in this building. The conditions and the smoke allowed it to be such that it was not tenable and it's difficult for us to wrap our brains around," Sullivan said.
Sullivan said firefighters and the resort are going to be working to reunite families with their pets' remains.
"I hate to use the term [pet] because a pet is more than a pet. This is a big deal. I wish I could go back in time and make it better," Sullivan said.
The investigation into the fire is ongoing and a cause has not yet been confirmed, though KXAN-TV in Austin reported the point of origin had been located.