The owner of a Texas animal boarding facility where at least 75 dogs were killed in a fire Saturday said he is “emotionally overwhelmed,” according to reports.
Ponderosa Pet Resort in Georgetown caught fire around 11:00 p.m., Saturday night, with the entire building engulfed in flames.
Owner Phillip Paris offered condolences to 59 families who lost a pet during the blaze, according to KXAN.
“I am emotionally overwhelmed by the accidental fire on Saturday night at our business. Fifty-nine families are affected and their best friends won’t be coming home. As a dog owner, I feel their heartbreak immensely.”
Fire crews said it was “the worst possible” situation and that the animals likely died from smoke inhalation, according to KXAN.
The Georgetown Fire Department said Monday an investigation into the tragic incident is ongoing but “no information indicates the cause of the fire was criminal in nature.”
IN MEMORIAM: Today, we’re remembering the 75 dogs who were killed in a fire at Ponderosa Pet Resort in Georgetown on Saturday 💔 If you lost a furry family member, we would love for you to share their photo and a memory about them using the KVUE app or by texting 512-459-9442 pic.twitter.com/xNUde1AQKk
— KVUE News (@KVUE) September 20, 2021
75 dogs passed away in a fire last night at Ponderosa Pet Resort in Georgetown. Community members have been stopping by all day to drop off flowers and photos. pic.twitter.com/2Xa1Iov5A9
— Amanda Ruiz (@AmandaRuizFOX7) September 19, 2021
The fire department added families would be able to collect their pets’ remains Monday. (RELATED: ‘Horrible Tragedy’: Fire At Indiana Pet Store Kills Around 100 Animals)
“As part of this investigation, we have been working closely with the owner, and our combined focus is to reunite families with loved ones,” Fire Chief John Sullivan said. “We understand people want answers. We want answers, too. We have to make sure we’re evaluating all the facts, so we can understand what happened, so we can better prevent this in the future.”
The building did not have a sprinkler system as city codes do not require sprinklers for facilities of that size and use, according to the fire department.
The fire department said it is reviewing its fire code and will make recommendations to update the fire codes in fall of 2021. The fire department added the pet resort did not have a kennel permit as required by city rules but that the permit would not have affected fire prevention and suppression systems.
Paris said the fire was “100% accidental,” according to KXAN.