Kennel owner saves her animals, herself from fire
OWENSBURG -- Canine kennel owner Darlene Clark loves her dogs and that admiration almost caused her to be seriously injured during a fire Wednesday afternoon in eastern Greene County.
Firefighters from three area volunteer departments battled an early afternoon blaze at the kennel and pet grooming business, located about three miles northwest of Owensburg, for several hours.
Clark and an employee, Dale Townsend of Scotland, were able to rescue more than 20 dogs that were housed in cages outside the grooming building that caught fire about 1:30 p.m.
"Love My Pets," located on County Road 175S, about a mile off of State Road 45 in Center Township, is home to a growing nine-year-old business that specializes in the breeding of Shih-Tzu, Pugs, Maltese, T-Cups and Toy Poodles.
Between 100 and 125 dogs were on the premises when the fire broke out. Remarkably, none of the dogs were injured.
Clark was treated at the scene by personnel from the Greene County Ambulance and Paramedic Service for smoke inhalation. She was transported to Bloomington Hospital for treatment; however, she was not thought to be seriously hurt, according to first responders on the scene.
A friend, Steve Parker, said he was relieved that Clark and her animals were safe.
"That would have been devastating to her if any of them would have been hurt. She loves those dogs," he said.
Center Township Fire Department is heading up the investigation into the cause of the fire.
Co-worker Townsend, who just started his job at the kennel two weeks ago and was working in another building when the fire broke out, said he helped Clark move the dogs from fenced in kennels to a secure and safe area in back of the burning building that was fully engulfed when he first saw it.
"I came out of the garage and it (the grooming building) was smoking," Townsend said. "I helped her get all of them (the dogs) out of the building before it (the fire) went up the rest of the way through the building."
Townsend said he believes rodents may have chewed into electrical wiring in a second floor loft area above the grooming shop and sparked the blaze.
"There were a lot of rats coming out the burning building," he added.
Assisting at the scene was personal from Eastern Fire Department, as well as Owensburg-Jackson Township Fire Department.