75 dogs die in pet resort fire in Texas

Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 5:46 AM CDT
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GEORGETOWN, Texas (KEYE) - An eyewitness captured video Saturday night at the Ponderosa Pet Resort as the building filled with smoke and flames, the Georgetown Fire Department getting there as fast as they could.

“It’s hard to accept the fact that we showed up in such a quick fashion, yet we were unable to save even one life in this building,” Georgetown Fire Chief John Sullivan said.

Seventy-five dogs were killed, including Korin Hardt’s 12-year-old dog, Sammy.

“They dressed him up, they pushed him in strollers. He was just so easygoing,” she said.

Hardt came home from a trip Sunday around 5 a.m. and drove past the pet resort to see police cars but didn’t think much of it. At 8:30 a.m., she got the dreaded call from an unknown woman.

“I broke down. I hung up with her, my husband was asleep, so I called him, and we figured we had to tell the kids before they saw it,” she said.

A memorial was held Sunday night for the 75 dogs. Families and members of the community shed tears while putting flowers and pictures on the barbed-wire fence.

“It just kind of hurts. It just makes me think of what if it were my dog,” vet technician Blake Coronado said.

Sullivan said investigators are still working to determine the cause of the fire. He said it is not known yet if a sprinkler system was installed or activated in the resort, but federal, state and city fire codes don’t require them based on the use and size of the building.

“We’re looking at all leads possible so that when we look these homeowners back in the eye, the property owners, those that lost family members, we can tell them conclusively what happened,” he said.

Officials believed the dogs likely died due to smoke inhalation.

Hardt said she wishes the pet resort had a sprinkler and carbon monoxide system in place that could have possibly saved the dogs’ lives.

“I hope that he doesn’t rebuild and open, and I hope that if he gets anything out of this insurance, I’m sure he has insurance, that he would donate it,” she said.

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