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Lightning Strike, Fire Kills Sled Dogs

Another 360 Working Dogs Survive

A FIRE STARTED BY A LIGHTNING strike at the Chocpaw Enterprises sled dog kennels last week lead to the deaths of two of the animals.

The lightning hit in the main yard where the 360+ dogs are kept and started a fire in a large storage shed when most of the equipment was kept.  After it was put out it was discovered that two of the dogs had perished, most likely from the heat.  One of them may have also been a direct victim of the lightning bolt.

Paul Ried, owner of Chocpaw Expeditions, stands
beside the remains of the fire.  (North Bay Nipissing)

The North Bay Nipissing is reporting:

Two sled dogs were killed in a fire recently at Chocpaw Expeditions following a lightning strike in the yard the animals were kept. The morning fire ended up burning a storage building to the ground and making a wide range of equipment completely unusable.

Paul Reid, owner of Chocpaw Expeditions, said in the 25 years he has been located at the property this is the first time anything like this has happened.

The summer time is already a difficult period for the hardworking animals who get visibly excited at the prospect of pulling a sled. The 365 Alaskan sled dogs that call the yard their home aren’t able to pull sleds during the summer months due to the heat.

The building burned so quickly that by the time the fire department showed up there was already very little to save.

"The building burned to the ground and took all my winter camping and dog sledding equipment with it," said Reid. "When the fire department got here everything had fallen into the hole – it went up that fast."

The list of destroyed gear includes winter harnesses, drop chains, 27 tents and meat saws. Reid and his team are going to be spending the next few days digging through the hole left by the fire to see if there’s anything worth salvaging.

The equipment is key to the Chocpaw business, which is to provide educational and recreational wilderness adventure programs around the area. According to Reid, Chocpaw is the largest provider of dog sled expeditions in the country. Reid said despite the fire, he his dogs will be ready for the winter.

"We don’t have any choice," said Reid. "My dogs need to work to eat, and I’ve got a staff of 24 people depending on this for their winter livelihood, and I’d like to eat too."

Read the full STORY HERE.
Chocpaw Expeditions WEBSITE.

 

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Comments - Add Yours

  • Mona Albano

    This is a real misfortune. I know that the Chocpaw people take great care of their dogs. The handmade sleds will be expensive to replace and in the small village of South River, Chocpaw is a significant employer and a tourist destination that brings people to the area all winter. If you are in the North Bay or Almaguin Highlands area, please consider going to the fundraising dinner on November 9th.