Left: Sandy's townhouse engulfed in flames
Early Monday morning, February 8th, at about 1 am, Tammy, one of our overnight staff discovered "Sandy's Townhouse" was on fire. Thank God we have always had on-call night staff who monitor any sick animals overnight plus ensure the facility is secure; and thank goodness Tammy, who was on duty Sunday night, was on her toes. She smelled smoke and went to investigate the source, found smoke coming from Sandy's townhouse, and upon going inside saw that the wall was on fire. Tammy called Lisa, the Executive Director, and then both Tammy and Lisa called the fire department. Tammy located a fire extinguisher and got the three dogs out to safety, but the fire was beyond an extinguisher. Lisa also called one of our staff, Grace, who lives the closest to the sanctuary, and even though she had already worked a long day, she came in to help and support Tammy. Together they got the dogs moved so they were indoors and warm as it was well below zero.
The fire department responded with 8 trucks and it was soon a complete madhouse out there with dogs barking and the firemen trying to get the fire under control and prevent it from spreading. We had some frightening moments as they couldn't get the hoses working at first because it was so cold.
Above: the heartbreaking aftermath: the townhouse is a total loss.
In the end, we were very lucky. None of the three dogs who lived in the townhouse were hurt or killed or even had smoke inhalation—they were just grumpy at having been woken up in the middle of the night. Sandy's townhouse is a total loss, but we have insurance and will rebuild on the site. Now, we are waiting for the adjuster to come out and assess the damage before we demolish it and build it anew. It was our oldest townhouse and the cause of the fire was electrical. We are extremely lucky the fire didn't spread to any of the other buildings where other animals live. The biggest hassle is that the dogs are displaced now and especially when so cold, but it's a minor issue compared to the heartbreak had we lost any of our precious animals.
I can't thank Tammy and Grace enough for being there, handling the situation, and getting the dogs to safety. We are also grateful to the members of the fire department who responded so quickly in the middle of the night when it was so cold and made sure the facility was safe and that the fire was out. It was a harrowing experience but could have been so much worse ... So that was how our Monday started—we hope your winter is going a bit better!
Some have asked how they can help Home for Life®. We have insurance that will cover the rebuild of Sandy's townhouse, yet we are concerned now for the welfare of all our dogs who reside in the other 15 dog townhouses. All the townhouses were wired by master electricians and use electric heat which has been safe, but it seems we have been given a second chance to reconsider a better option. Our heating contractor and director of facilities maintenance are strongly recommending we go to a ductless system that would provide both heat and cooling, and which are units used often in residential housing so safe and code compliant.
Each unit costs $898 and we have 16 dog townhouses to outfit. The total needed is $13,500. Sandy's new unit will be covered by insurance. Your tax-deductible gift will ensure the safety of the Home for Life® dogs. We take Paypal or you can give via credit or debit card or by EFT via your savings or checking account. Click here to donate.
We know a heating unit is not the "sexiest" ask but it's one of those support structures for the care of the animals that can make a life or death difference as was emphasized all too clearly Monday morning when Sandy's townhouse nearly burned to the ground. Click here for more information about the recommended heating units
We appreciate your kindness and support at what has been a traumatic time for Home for Life®.