The owner of a Texas pet-boarding company where 75 dogs died in a fire said Monday that he is heartbroken and grieving the animals' deaths.
The dogs died of smoke inhalation after the fire at around 11 p.m. Saturday at the Ponderosa Pet Resort in Georgetown, a city of around 67,000 north of Austin, fire officials said.
"I am emotionally overwhelmed by the accidental fire on Saturday night at our business," Phillip Paris said in a statement Monday, according to NBC affiliate KXAN of Austin. “Fifty-nine families are affected, and their best friends won’t be coming home. As a dog owner, I feel their heartbreak intensely.”
The preliminary investigation has given officials no indication that the cause of the fire is criminal, but the inquiry continues, the Georgetown Fire Department said.
Fire Chief John Sullivan called for patience.
"We want answers, and we want answers now, but we need to go through a process of identifying clearly what caused this fire so we can better learn from this and help prevent a future tragedy from occurring," he said Monday.
When fire crews got to the site, the facility was completely engulfed in smoke and all of the dogs at the business had died, the fire department has said.
The fire department said Monday that the process of reuniting owners with their dogs will begin.
Sprinklers are not required at a business of that size in Georgetown, the fire department said. Sullivan said there could be changes to the fire code in the wake of the fire.
The deadly fire occurred just days after a fire at a Florida pet adoption facility killed 23 cats. Firefighters were able to save all the dogs and some cats after the fire Wednesday at the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando, officials said.