Heavy Death Toll Expected
Update: Heavy loss to the animal stock. Scroll down.
FIRE BROKE OUT IN A NEWBERG, OREGON, PET shop Thursday morning and was discovered at 7:50 am Pacific. The first units on the scene found the Critter Cabana pet store fully involved and a second alarm was struck for the exposure hazard in the block-long row of connected commercial occupancies, none of which are sprinklered.
A special call was sent for veterinary doctors to respond from a local veterinary clinic.
"The store is just a block from the firehouse," said Division Chief Frank Douglas. "It was spreading quickly when we arrived, but it was knocked down within minutes. Some animals were able to escape," he said. "But this place has a variety of animals and it's not looking good for a lot of them."
He said the cause of the fire remains under investigation.
"We've been pretty stretched here this morning," he said. "We had a motor vehicle accident and another fire at the same time."
Seven FD's assisted in the operation and some of them were later re-deployed to the second fire mentioned by Chief Douglas.
Investigators are on the scene, but no initial decision on the cause of the fire has been announced.
Update: Several news agencies are reporting that some of the reptiles and larger animals, including turtles, were saved by firefighters and some volunteer animal handlers. But literally hundreds of other creatures perished in the fire, mostly by smoke inhalation. The shop was also used as a temporary shelter for stray animals and most of them died also. All of the tropical fish also died.
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