Officials investigating fire that displaced 86 dogs in Danbury
DANBURY — More than 80 dogs are safe this morning after a massive community effort Thursday night to rescue them from a fire behind the Puppy Love pet store on Lake Avenue Extension.
More than 150 Good Samaritans, employees, neighbors and firefighters rushed to break down the store’s doors and pull the puppies to safety while flames from a metal barn behind the pet store soared almost 50 feet high and threatened to engulf the entire property.
All 86 animals were examined by a veterinarian and found to be in good health and are now staying in a former art gallery space in the building next door.
“This has been my worst fear,” Puppy Love owner Sean Silverman said early Friday morning. “But the dogs are 100 percent OK and I can’t say enough about the people who stopped to help. The firefighters, of course. It’s unbelievable.”
Firefighters arrived at the scene at 37 Lake Avenue Ext. at about 9 p.m. and found flames leaping from the metal pole barn at the back of the property where Danbury Power Sports stores equipment and vehicles.
They also found a crowd of people already trying to free dogs from the pet store before it burned.
Two firefighters were able to pull closed and hold shut a fire door at the back of the puppy store, closing off a breezeway connecting the store to the metal pole barn burning out back — the fire burning so hot that it melted one of the firefighter’s jackets, fire officials said Friday morning.
That move kept the fire from spreading to the puppy store, saving the building and buying time for the crowd that gathered to wheel the puppies to safety outside.
Officials are still investigating the cause of the fire, but they said Friday morning it was believed to have started in the pole barn, which is now completely destroyed.
Firefighters put out a final hot spot at about 8:30 a.m. and crews were already cleaning up water damage near the back of the now empty puppy store.
The Puppy Love building escaped with little fire damage and mostly water issues. Silverman hopes to reopen in about four days.
“A little bit of water damage, but I don’t think it’s too bad,” he said. “Some clean up and we should be open in a few days. And we will be open until every last dog has a home.”