Florida Firefighter Adopts Cat After Saving Several Animals from Orlando Shelter

by Lauren Boisvert

A Florida firefighter who helped save dogs and cats from a tragic fire now has a little friend of his own. Last Wednesday, a devastating fire broke out at the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando in Central Florida. According to Yahoo! News, firefighters rescued 45 dogs and 26 cats. 10 cats are believed to be missing, and 12 were found dead.

One of the firefighters adopted a cat he helped rescue; Brett Maneri told WFTV that he found Mia the cat huddled behind a cat condo inside the remains of the Pet Alliance building. “We picked her up, and after that it was just it,” he said. “She was a lover. I could tell she was so scared and timid…[I] kind of just fell in love with her.”

Rescuers took Mia to Pet Alliance’s Sanford, Florida location, but Maneri went back as soon as he could and filled out the adoption papers. Now, Mia has a forever home.

Pet Alliance Executive Director Steve Bardy thanked the first responders for their work at the scene during a press conference. He also stated his grief at the disaster, saying, “If you run a shelter, this is literally your worst nightmare. 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.”

The fire seems to have started near the cat area. Officials ruled out foul play, but the cause of the fire is still unknown.

What You Can Do To Help The Pet Alliance in Florida

Personally, this hits home, because I got my cat from the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando. It’s devastating to think that my cat may have known some of the cats who died, or that if I hadn’t adopted her she could have died in the fire. But, there are things to do as civilians and community members that can help get the Pet Alliance back on its feet.

The shelter has already collected nearly $250,000 in donations to help rebuild. You can take or send physical items like blankets, dog food, and wet or dry cat food to the Sanford location at 2800 County Home Rd., Sanford, FL 32773.

Firefighters Rush to Scene of Pet Hotel Fire

Three days after the incident in Florida, on Saturday night, a fire at the Ponderosa Pet Resort in Georgetown, Texas killed 75 dogs. Georgetown Fire Chief John Sullivan held a press conference at the scene; “It was a quick response,” he said. Firefighters rushed to the scene, but “unfortunately, they were met with conditions that are our worst possible scenario and that was heavy smoke and fire involvement.”

Tragically, fire crews were not able to save any of the animals. The fire department is still investigating the cause of the fire. “My heart just breaks for the people today,” said Sullivan. He stated that he views his own pets as his greatest friends and that the incident was “extremely heart-wrenching.”