Animal Shelter Fire Kills 12 Cats; 26 Animals Rescued

Dog called a hero for waking apartment resident

By Christie Smith
|  Thursday, May 20, 2010  |  Updated 7:30 AM PDT
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Animal Shelter Fire Kills 12 Cats; 26 Animals Rescued

Christie Smith

The fire killed 12 cats but 12 more cats and 14 dogs were rescued.

A fire at the East Bay Humane Society in Berkeley killed 12 cats overnight; another 12 cats were pulled to safety, along with 14 dogs.

It started at about 11:40 p.m. Wednesday at the shelter on 9th Street. Firefighters say they believe a clothes dryer on the first floor of the shelter is to blame -- whether it malfuctioned or something flammable was put inside is still unclear.

As the flames tore through the shelter downstairs, an apartment upstairs caught fire too. Johanna White lives in the apartment and says she was asleep when the fire started. Her dog, Baby, started whining and barking and woke her up. She calls Baby a hero and credits the dog with saving her life.

A door separating the animals kept the flames from spreading into the dog area of the shelter.

The surviving animals are being cared for at two area pet hospitals. But the shelter is trying to get the word out they will need foster care for the animals and donations to keep going.  The shelter has been serving homeless pets since 1927.

Help the Berkeley Animal Shelter

Berkeley firefighters remained on firewatch into the morning in case the fire flares up.

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