GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) – A fire broke out Saturday night at a pet complex in Williamson County with the deaths of more than 70 animals.
The deadly fire occurred around 11:05 p.m. on Sept. 19 at Ponderosa Pet Resort in Georgetown, Georgetown fire chief John Sullivan confirmed Sunday.
Sullivan says that when the crews arrived, they found significant fire and smoke: the animals are believed to have died from smoke inhalation. There were no humans inside during the fire.
“These animals are an extension of the family,” Sullivan said Sunday. “So it’s a major loss.”
Ponderosa offers training, preparation and boarding and was founded more than ten years ago by owner Phillip Paris, a dog trainer and former Georgetown City police officer.
Fatal fires at pet housing facilities have previously occurred across the country. In 2019, 31 dogs died in a Chicago kennel fire, which led Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker to sign a law requiring kennels to have a steady staff and be equipped with sprinklers and fire alarms. . Earlier this year, a fire at a kennel in Bardstown, Kentucky, claimed the lives of about 50 dogs, except for one female, who had recently given birth to six puppies that also died.
A 2017 court case in Washington DC focused on a pet owner who sued a boarding establishment after another dog murdered his Yorkie cup of tea. The dog owner claimed the facility was negligent. The business denied the allegations of negligence, however, and called the death a “strange accident.”
GFD says it is too early to identify the cause of the fire, but crews have established their point of origin.
KXAN will update this story with more information as it becomes available.