updated 3/19/2010 5:11:23 PM ET 2010-03-19T21:11:23

Hundreds of exotic birds and a dog have died in a blaze that destroyed a building at a private Las Vegas nature preserve and sanctuary.

Las Vegas fire spokesman Tim Szymanski (zim-ANN'-skee) says more than 250 caged birds died in the blaze a little before 5:30 a.m. Friday at the Gilcrease Nature Sanctuary. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Szymanski says someone at the sanctuary used a fire hose to try to battle flames, but the one-story wooden building was fully ablaze when firefighters arrived.

The preserve is a nonprofit sanctuary, education center and rescue operation for animals including tortoises and horses.

It has housed large birds including ostriches and emus, along with smaller species like finches, parakeets and parrots.

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