More than 20 cats were killed Wednesday night when a fire ravaged a pet adoption center in Florida.
The fire broke out at the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando, the facility said in a Facebook post. Firefighters were able to save all the dogs, but 23 cats died.
The rescued animals were taken to the facility location in Sanford for assessment and care.
Orange County Animal Services officers first noticed the flames at the end of their shift and contacted the fire department.
“They reacted as quickly as they could to fight the blaze that threatened to spread throughout the facility,” the shelter said in a statement.
Body camera footage released by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office showed deputies quickly removing dogs from the facility.
“Come on bubba,” a member of parliament says in the video as he puts a dog on a leash. “Go on.”
Animal Services said that thanks to everyone’s efforts, more than 30 animals were rescued from the blaze.
“We would like to recognize and thank everyone involved for their response and their courage in saving as many lives as possible,” the shelter said. “We also want to offer our condolences to our brothers and sisters at PAGO for the loss of life, and remind them that OCAS is always there for them, as they have been for us in the past.”
A fire official told a press conference on Thursday that rescue attempts were hampered by a collapsed roof inside the building, making “access to all animals … enough hard”. The official said crews were able to reach the dogs quickly due to where they are housed inside the facility.
“They keep them separate,” the official said of the dogs and cats. “So right where the fire was and where the animals were, the dogs were in an area where the fire hadn’t really reached yet.”
At one point, the blaze became so overwhelming that crews had to retreat and “attack it from our air streams,” the official told reporters.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.