MANSFIELD, Ohio - Three cats are dead and eight missing after a Mansfield animal shelter caught fire Friday evening.
The Mansfield fire captain tells NewsChannel5 that crews were able to rescue 34 to 35 of the cats that had been inside when the blaze started.
Mansfield police dispatchers said they received a 911 call around 6:27 p.m. reporting a structure fire at the Stop The Overpopulation of Pets Inc., located in the 1100 block of Lexington Avenue.
Volunteers and shelter employees are working to keep the surviving cats warm and contained.
When firefighters arrived, smoke and flames were spotting coming out of the basement on the north side of the shelter.
Despite complications from the extreme cold, crews contained the fire within 10 minutes of arrival. However, additional crews had to be called in to rotate with others to keep them from getting frostbite while they watched for two hours to manage hot spots.
Cause of the fire is under investigation. No estimate of the damage has been determined yet.
Dispatcher said 50 cats were reportedly inside. It’s not yet known if anyone or if any pets were injured.