Group Working to Reunite Owners and Pets Separated by Apartment Fire
After a fire charred an apartment complex on Waupelani Drive Thursday night, some tenants were left desperately searching for their beloved pets. Happy Valley Animals in Need is trying to find and return as many pets as possible to their owners.
Natalie Healy, who works with the organization, says she and a few others volunteered on Friday morning to help search for pets at the site of the fire. They aren't allowed in the charred building, but Healy says firefighters are doing another sweep of the area and will hand over any pets they find.
So far, Healy says they have two guinea pigs. They are waiting to hear from the guinea pigs' owners, whose names they don't know yet.
"We're going to hold them until we find the owners. We're getting a lot of phone calls about missing pets ... there's definitely damage," Healy says.
Cortlyn Johsnon founded Happy Valley Animals in Need and says she's been working on getting the word out on social media and by word-of-mouth to tenants who may be worried about their animal companions. She says they're also offering services to people who might need a pet sitter until they get back on their feet.
"The fire happened from about a mile from where I grew up. I would love to do anything to help, at no charge," Johnson says. "I know multiple people in the area who would be willing to help."
At the Happy Valley Animals in Need headquarters, Johnson says they're making room for cats at the moment and she's working on making arrangements for dogs to find foster families.
Around 8:15 Thursday night, Alpha Fire Company responded to a report of fire at an apartment complex on Waupelani Drive. The three-alarm fire tore through the building, damaging 19 units. Firefighters rescued two people off of a balcony.
The fire is under investigation and authorities have not yet determined how the fire started.