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More than 20 cats killed in Orlando shelter fire; 26 dogs inside were saved

·2 min read

More than 20 cats perished in an Orlando shelter fire Wednesday night, Orange County Fire Rescue spokesperson Lisa McDonald said.

Firefighters received a call at 10:21 p.m. regarding a fire located at the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando shelter, on 2727 Conroy Road, where flames escaped through the roof — which resulted in a partial roof collapse.

Within the 5,000-square-foot building, about the size of an NCAA basketball court, all 26 dogs were saved and 23 of the cats were killed.

An additional four cats were rescued Thursday morning — bringing the total number of cats saved to 20, according to a fire rescue news release.

McDonald said she doesn’t know what caused the blaze, and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis is handling the investigation.

David Urban, a retired truck driver, said he adopted a 3-month-old kitten named Sweet Pea from Pet Alliance on Friday.

As he scrolled on their website last Thursday, Sept. 9, her tortoiseshell fur and the gold stripe on her nose drew him to her, he said.

“ ‘If I had the time and didn’t have a 92-year-old mother to take care of,’ I said, ‘I would’ve adopted another one,’ ” Urban said.

Urban, a 61-year-old who has owned cats his entire life, noted that he felt heartbroken and in disbelief upon hearing the news.

“My sister had texted me and said, ‘well I guess it was really meant to be that you got Sweet Pea,’ ” Urban said.

Pet Alliance Executive Director Steve Bardy said in a press conference that about 150 of the animals were in foster care at the time of the fire.

“If you run a shelter, this is literally your worst nightmare,” Bardy said at a press conference. “To see your building in fire and know that there are animals in there that you’re charged to care for, and you can’t go in. I’m grateful that the firefighters have put their lives at risk to help save as many as they could.”

All of the rescued animals were transferred to the Sanford Pet Alliance location. Anyone willing to help can donate here.

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