ORLANDO, Fla. - State officials have determined that the massive fire that happened in September at the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando was accidental.
The fire broke out on the night of September 15, killing 23 cats and causing extensive damage to the building of the animal shelter.
"If you run a shelter, this is literally your worst nightmare," said a visibly shaken Stephen Bardy, the Executive Director of The Pet Alliance, at the time. "To see your building on fire and know that there are animals in there that you're charged to care for and you can't go in."
All 26 dogs made it out of the fire safely and many other cats were rescued, despite the losses. The state begin investigating the cause of the fire the following morning.
They then confirmed on Monday, October 11, that the cause of the fire was accidental in nature.
"Our investigation has concluded, and the cause of the fire has been determined to be accidental in nature," the Office of Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis Florida Department of Financial Services said.
No other details were provided.
Founded in 1937, the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando is one of the region’s oldest and largest animal welfare agencies. It serves Orange, Seminole, Osceola, and parts of Brevard, Lake, and Volusia counties.
Since the fire, the animal shelter said that they have raised nearly $1 million in donations.
"We know this community loves Pet Alliance, but we are still in awe of how Central Florida stepped up to support us these past couple weeks," the shelter wrote on Facebook. "In the wake of the fire on September 15, countless people have reached out with kind words of caring and sympathy. Donations of pet food, treats, towels and more have filled one storage space and are piled up on six pallets at a second space."
They explained that they will use the money to find a temporary space for the shelter and its offices, as well as eventually finalizing its new permanent location for the animal shelter.
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