More Than 50 Animals Die After Animal Shelter Fire

More Than 50 Animals Die After Animal Shelter Fire
By: Arnold Wyrick & AP
BENTON, Ill. - Authorities in southern Illinois are trying to pinpoint what sparked a fire that destroyed a Franklin County animal-control site, killing dozens of cats and a number of dogs.
A passerby noticed the flames coming from the Franklin County Animal Control Shelter late Monday evening.  By the time firefighters arrived on the scene at 10:30 p.m. the building was engulfed in flames.
But, the quick thinking moves of some of the firefighters and Franklin County deputies saved the lives of nearly half of the animals living at the shelter.
"One of the deputies ran down the pens and just cut the locks off of them to let the dogs out.  Of course we had dogs running everywhere.  But, that was our main concern to get the dogs out," said Franklin County Animal Control Officer Jarrett Broy.
"It's heartbreaking though because we've worked so hard to get to where we were," he said.
And now the animals that did survive the flames need everything, just to get back on their feet.
"We had blankets for the little ones and lost those.  All of the donated food is ruined.  It either has water in it or soot in it, and everything else is in the food.  I won't feed it to them.  The canned food is no good because it got too hot," Broy said.
Another big loss to the animals is all the medicine they need on a regular basis.
The heroic efforts of those at the scene saved the lives of more than 40 dogs and 20 cats.  But, they couldn't save them all.
"We lost 41 cats and about 15 dogs.  We didn't really think we'd lost that many until we got to digging around in the rubble this morning," Broy said.
"Now if I could only find Walter and Oliver our two cats we kept in the office.  And I'm hoping that they did get out somehow, someway and that they'll turn up around here in the next couple of days," he said.
Broy says the deaths and the fire's aftermath are just awful. Broy says he isn't sure what happens now that they've lost the site, which was just a few years old and was built with donations.
A spokesman for the Ewing-Northern Fire Protection District says state investigators are expected to be called in to determine what caused the blaze.
Send donations to:
Franklin County Animal Control
P.O. Box 967
Benton, IL 62812