Dozens of cats and kittens were displaced following what's believed to be an electrical fire that tore through the Mid Hudson Animal Aid in Beacon early Saturday morning. With dozens of felines in need of temporary homes, YNN’s Alexandra Weishaupt has more on the recovery efforts amidst the devastation.
BEACON, N.Y. -- “We smelled the smoke. I was running around the building trying to figure out where it was coming from and I opened the door to the isolation room and fire and smoke came out,” said MHAA Shelter Manager Audrey Lodato.
Shelter Manager Audrey Lodato says it was a terrifying Saturday morning at the MHAA, the largest free range no kill shelter in the Hudson Valley.
“I ran around the building and blocked open every door and kicked out every screen I could so that animals could escape and then I ran into the kitten room and started pulling kittens out of cages,” said Lodato.
An intense fire broke out in the space housing about a dozen cats recuperating from illnesses and surgeries. Eight felines succumbed to smoke inhalation in the room now burned, charred and at a complete loss, while more than 100 others were brought to safety.
“We had an immediate outpouring from volunteers, other shelters, veterinary hospitals who came here and helped us evacuate the rest of the cats in carriers and crates and everyone came,” said MHAA Board President Don Petruncola.
Four cats escaped into the woods and have been missing since the fire. Flyers have been posted around Beacon as shelter officials are now hoping for the best.
“This really is their home and it really is our home,” said Lodato. “Very, very scary. I'm glad we have good volunteers here at the building that reacted quickly and I'm glad that the Beacon Fire Department was able to get here as quickly as they did, could've been a lot worse."
About $25,000 worth of damage, but thanks to a safety plan and a swift response, Lodato expects to return to their building in a few weeks time.
Currently, other area organizations, such as Pets Alive Animal Sanctuary in Middletown, are caring for the displaced cats.
If you're interested in helping, visit www.midhudsonanimalaid.org or http://www.petcaring.com/nonprofits/fire-ravages-cat-shelter-isolation-ward/35973.