Posted on August 2, 2007
Dog owners returning from their holidays faced heartbreak yesterday after their pets perished in a huge blaze at a kennel in Eaton Bray.
A German Shepherd and a Rottweiler died as a result of the fire at Appledown Kennels in Harling Road, but many more animals were carried to safety, thanks to a huge rescue operation.
The blaze broke out in a boarding block, which was housing around 40 pets while their owners were away on holiday. Sixty other dogs in different buildings were unaffected by the drama.
Kennel staff have been praised for their quick response to the fire, and a number of volunteers pitched in to lend a hand.
Among them was a driver heading home from work, who helped firefighters and staff get the pets to safety.
Fire crews were able to quell the blaze, which broke out at around lam yesterday, and move around 40 dogs to safety.
Four of them were unconscious, and two of them were dramatically revived using oxygen packs.
But sadly two pets died as a result of the flames.
Group Commander Ade Feben, who led the fire service operation, said: "I thought we were going to get 10 to 15 dogs killed when we got there.
"I honestly didn't think we'd get away with just two."
He was full of praise for his firefighters, who went into the burning building to rescue the dogs from their pens.
"They did really well, it was incredibly hard work but they did it really well," Mr Feben said.
The fire chief added that most dogs were very quiet and restrained as they were being rescued, but quickly perked up when they were outside.
He said: "They were all scared, but in all fairness they were fairly overcome by the smoke and that's what made them docile until we got them out.
"In all my time I haven't dealt with so many animals in one fire."
Mr Feben also said that kennel staff did a great job under intense pressure.
There were two staff members on the site when the fire broke out, and they alerted the fire service.
As the Herald&Post went to press, investigations seemed to indicate that an electrical fault was the most likely cause of the blaze.
A police spokesman yesterday confirmed that it wasn't being treated as suspicious.
The kennel's owner, Julie Shelton, was on holiday in Canada when it happened, but she jumped on a plane as soon as she heard the bad news.
Her mum, Pam Perry, said the response from volunteers was overwhelming.
She said: "It's horrific, but everyone's been brilliant.
"It just goes to show what a good place this is, the fact that so many people came to help."
The RSPCA were called in to check the animals were safe.
Yesterday an RSPCA spokeswoman said that kennel staff had done a "sterling job", and said: "We were very pleased to be there and to be able to help the animals that we did."
Owners with pets at the kennel were being contacted yesterday, and all animals were checked by a vet before leaving.
Source: Dave Burke, Herald & Post, 2 August 2007
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