Firemen made a sad discovery on Tuesday evening after finding five show dogs had died in a home fire in Valrico, Florida. Hillsborough County Fire Rescue responded to a fire emergency at a home located on Cloud Ave North; the home is also listed as Almost Home Pet Resort.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, the front part of the home was engulfed in smoke when firefighters arrived. They were able to get the fire under control within a half hour, and the majority of the damage was confined to the kitchen, however heat and smoke damaged the entire house. While searching the home, firefighters found the bodies of five dogs.
The dogs are owned by Betsey Hicka who lived at the home and operates the kennel located behind her home. Three of the dogs that died were standard poodles who appeared in shows; the other two dogs, a toy poodle and a Shih Tzu-Yorkie mix belonged to her also. One other personal dog that had been in the rear kennel was fine.
Hicka lost award-winning poodles: Maverick, 6, Lacey, 11, and Star, 5. Casey, the toy poodle, was 9 and Gidget the Shih Tzu-Yorkie mix was 8.
Hicka was not at home when the fire broke out, and when she arrived home she said she was in a panic seeing the firemen and the smoke emanating from her home. WflaNews reports she rushed into her home and was able to pull Lacey out, but she had already died – probably from smoke inhalation.
“I was up all night,” Betsey said. “I tried to pull her out. I tried to get the other one, they wouldn’t let me in. They were my babies; they were my life.”
The fire department determined the fire had been caused by an electrical problem in the home. Fortunately the kennel was not damaged and none of the dogs boarded were injured.
Rest in peace Maverick, Lacey, Star, Casey and Gidget.
On Wednesday morning, Almost Home Pet Resort posted a photo on their Facebook page:
“Hi everyone. I’m sure you may have seen the news this morning. Just clearing up a few things, the kennel itself is ok and all of your precious pets are safe. We are open for business today.”
(Photos via Facebook and screenshot via WflaNews)
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