There Goes the Neighborhood
A GARAGE FIRE IN FREEPORT, Long Island, Thursday afternoon looked like “a ball of fire” to arriving firefighters, according to a Freeport FD spokesman.
The detached, single-car garage was in full bloom and the firefighters found two pit bulls loose in the front yard. Animal control officers arrived promptly and secured the animals while the FFs extinguished the 2 pm blaze.
While performing mop-up operations they started uncovering dog bodies throughout the garage. Positive identification of the breeds was difficult but it strongly appeared that they were all pit bulls or mixed breeds of them. The bodies were badly damaged, but they believe there were at least ten and probably 12 dogs that had perished.
The police immediately established the site as a crime scene and began investigating into whether the garage was being used as a breeding kennel of a dog-fighting facility. A co-owner of the house who lives in Texas claims that the house is supposed to be vacant and he has no idea what was going on there.
A man who does admit to living in the house, however, says that the dogs belong to his roomate. He told WNBC-TV News:
Orlando Howard said he lives in the home and was inside when he saw flames shooting through the roof of the garage. He said the owner of the dogs, a friend who lives with him in the house, ran from the basement into the garage to try to save the dogs.
“I actually didn’t even know he had so many, he’s so private and personal,” said Howard. “The dogs were kept in the garage.” It’s not clear if Howard and the dogs’ owner were living there legally.
Neighbors say they had no idea there were dogs living there. Bernard Patrick said he never saw the animals and never heard any barking.
Howard claimed he “wasn’t quite sure” why his friend had so many dogs. “I believe he makes puppies and sells them, I’m not quite sure,” he said. “I just know they’re not fighting. He’d never have them fighting around the house.”
The incident is now being investigated by the Nassau County fire marshal, the district attorney, two police agencies and the building code enforcement officers. They say that the fire was so intense that they are initially unable to tell if the animals, some of them puppies, were kept in cages or roamed freely in the garage.
Newsday has the STORY.
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