The Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando is in need of assistance as it recovers from a late-night fire at its Orlando location.
Currently, the local animal rescue is accepting donations through its website. The rescue also is in need of towels, blankets and wet cat food at its Sanford location, 2800 County Home Road, Sanford. However, officials said there likely will be other ways to help in the days and weeks to come.
"We are heartbroken to share that Pet Alliance’s Orlando location was damaged by a devastating fire last night," Pet Alliance officials wrote on Facebook. "We are very sad to report that we lost 23 cats to the fire, but firefighters and staff were able to save all of the dogs.
"All of the saved animals will be transported to the Sanford location for assessment and care," officials said. "We appreciate the community’s outpouring of support. If you wish to make a donation you can do so on our website. We will let the community know what other help we need as we move forward."
According to Orange County Fire Rescue, the blaze was reported to the department at 10:21 p.m. at the shelter on Conroy Road near the Mall at Millenia. The department said the facility was 20% involved when firefighters arrived.
“Flames (were) through the roof” of the shelter, the agency reported on Twitter.
Pet Alliance Executive Director Steve Bardy said rescuers arrived in time to safely evacuate all 26 dogs, which were in an area farther from the origin of the fire.
“It appears the fire started in the front building by the clinic, which made it more difficult for fire rescue to go into the adjacent cat room,” Bardy said. “If you run a shelter, this is literally your worst nightmare — to see your building on fire and know that there are animals in there that you’re charged to care for and you can’t go in."
The cause of the blaze is currently under investigation.